IMDb > The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968)

The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968) More at IMDbPro »Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (original title)


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Release Date:
6 November 1968 (France) See more »
The life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach as presented by his wife, Anna. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
(4 articles)
Daily | Hoberman, Transit, Malkovich
 (From Keyframe. 23 September 2014, 6:35 AM, PDT)

Our Daily Bread #5
 (From MUBI. 17 March 2014, 8:00 AM, PDT)

Without Theatres: ‘The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach’ may be critical to the ‘slow cinema’ debate
 (From SoundOnSight. 21 November 2013, 9:07 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Pretentious, boring and poorly recorded See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order)
Gustav Leonhardt ... Johann Sebastian Bach
Christiane Lang ... Anna Magdalena Bach
Paolo Carlini ... Hölzel
Ernst Castelli ... Steger
Hans-Peter Boye ... Born
Joachim Wolff ... Rector
Rainer Kirchner ... Superintendent
Eckart Bruntjen ... Prefect Kittler
Walter Peters ... Prefect Krause
Kathrien Leonhard ... Catherina Dorothea Bach
Anja Fahrmann ... Regine Susanna Bach
Katja Drewanz ... Christine Sophie Henrietta Bach
Bob van Asperen ... Johann Elias Bach
Andreas Pangritz ... Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Bernd Weikl ... Singer in Cantata No. 205
Wolfgang Schöne ... Singer in Cantata No. 82
Karl-Heinz Lampe ... Singer in Cantata No. 42
Bernhard Wehle ... Treble Voice in Cantata No. 140
Christa Degler ... Anna Magdalena Bach in Cantata No. 244 (voice)
Karl-Heinz Klein ... Bass Voice in Cantata No. 140
Nikolaus Harnoncourt ... Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen
Hellmuth Costard ... Rector Ernesti

Directed by
Danièle Huillet 
Jean-Marie Straub 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Danièle Huillet  written by (uncredited)
Jean-Marie Straub  written by (uncredited)

Produced by
Gian Vittorio Baldi .... producer
Danièle Huillet .... producer
Franz Seitz .... producer
Jean-Marie Straub .... producer
Cinematography by
Ugo Piccone 
Film Editing by
Danièle Huillet 
Jean-Marie Straub 
Production Design by
Danièle Huillet 
Costume Design by
Vera Poggioni 
Makeup Department
Guerrino Todero .... hair stylist: periwegs
Production Management
Günther Maag .... unit manager
Horst Winter .... unit manager
Sound Department
Louis Hochet .... sound
Lucien Moreau .... sound
Paul Schöler .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Giovanni Canfarelli Modica .... assistant camera (as Giovanni Canfarelli)
Saverio Diamante .... assistant camera (as Saverio Diamanti)
Hans Eberle .... lighting technician
Thomas Hartwig .... camera operator: trick camera
Max Jörg .... lighting technician
Hans Kracht .... assistant camera
Uwe Radom .... assistant camera
Music Department
Concentus musicus Wien .... orchestra (as Concentus musicus, Ensemble für alte Musik Wien)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt .... conductor: Concentus musicus, Ensemble für arte Musik Wien
Heinz Hennig .... chorus master: Knabenchor Hannover
Knabenchor Hannover .... chorus
Gustav Leonhardt .... musician
Schola Cantrum Basiliensis .... musician
Bernhard Wehle .... singing voice
August Wenzinger .... conductor: Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Other crew
Georg Föcking .... production assistant
Aldo U. Passalacqua .... production assistant (as Aldo Passalacqua)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach" - West Germany (original title)
See more »
94 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Gustav Leonhardt portrays Bach in his only performance as an actor. He is a music scholar of International renown, specialized in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and a harpsichord virtuoso whose Bach recordings (both as harpsichord player and conductor) are the finest to be found in recording History.See more »
Movie Connections:
Partita #6 in E Minor, BWV 830 - GavotteSee more »


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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Pretentious, boring and poorly recorded, 30 June 2013
Author: dimplet from United States

OK, I'll cut this a little slack for being made in 1968, though this does not fully excuse the horrible sound quality. Stereo became common 10 years before, yet this is in mono, with compressed, over-modulated, sometimes severely distorted sound, recorded on an optical film track, with background noise. I saw better-recorded educational films shown on a 16mm projector in class as a kid. Hmmm, maybe this was the audience for this project -- an educational film for European music classes?

On the plus side, videos of musical performances were not as common as now; I wish they were. It is interesting to see a performance, especially keyboard or orchestral, even if the camera is static. But you need first-rate sound... and color. This is filmed in black and white. I love black and white, but this is washed out and fuzzy.

I love classical music, especially Bach. What makes Bach unique is not his use of melody, which was more fully exploited later, but his use of interweaving contrapuntal lines, requiring the listener to follow multiple instruments simultaneously. This is largely lost in mono, especially with this muddled sound. This makes me suspect that the producers didn't really understand the music. However, at least having the visuals of the performers helps a bit to recapture some of that polyphonic interplay.

The performances are adequate. But today with modern sound technology, and the wide variety of performances and interpretations, often on period instruments, these performances seem hopelessly stodgy.

The concept was not entirely off the mark: filming Bach with period instruments, performers dressed in period clothes, with historical settings, is interesting. It would have been more interesting with audiences, for that's how the music would have been performed, but then you would need more costumes. In color with digital sound, this might have been striking, but in black and white, even the costumes are boring.

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