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In 2008 we reported on Prof. Martin Jarvis’ theory, that Anna Magdalena Bach was not only the scribe but also the composer of some of J.S. Bach’s well-known works. Now Jarvis is back, expanding his idea and collaborating with Heidi Harralson, a forensic document examiner, and has developed his theory into a film. They also work with composer Sally Beamish, who observes “What I found fascinating is the questions it raises about the assumptions we make: that music is always written by one person and all the great masters were male by definition.” The Washington Post finds the theory plausible. There have been after all, other cases when works ascribed to J.S. Bach have been determined, through scholarly processes,to be by someone else. And the sky did not fall. J.S. Bach retains his place in the firmament of great composers.
This article in the Guardian is more sensationalist in tone and states that Jarvis’ goal is to “prove” Mrs Bach wrote some of her husband’s best-known works. It has provoked some heated debate in more than 300 comments to date, revealing that the idea that a woman might have composed music, is in itself a shock for some; and even some kind of a heresy (judging from some responses) to suggest a lowly women might have written music we are used to thinking of as by the great God, J.S. Bach.
One question I have, is when the film will be shown in the U.S.? (It has just opened in London, and is being shown at a festival in Leipzig tomorrow, Oct. 31) .
Mrs Bach — this link is for the full flier of new film — But below we provide the beautiful first page. And here is the Trailer for the Film