Written by Mrs. Bach

The long awaited, and much debated, documentary that investigates the role of Anna Magdalena Bach as not only wife but collaborator and, most controversially, composer of the Cello Suites, is now available online. The evidence uncovered and explored by musicologist Martin Jarvis has raised eyebrows, and ruffled feathers, among classical musicians and music enthusiasts around the world.  (We’ve covered a bit of the enthusiasm and eye-rolling that this work has inspired in the past.)  Regardless of your personal stance on the subject, I encourage everyone to spend some time watching the film and to consider the evidence as it is presented.  The film is…

New Recording of Bach Cello Suites

It wasn’t that long ago that the question of authorship for the Cello Suites – and the idea that they were written not by Bach but (gasp!) his wife – stirred up musicologists, music journalists, and any music enthusiast with their two cents to add to the conversation.  (We wrote about it here.)  And while the dominant voice in all of those conversations was of skepticism that Anna Magdalena could have possibly penned these famous works, those of us who advocate for the works of women, who have only recently in history been granted the opportunities to even be educated in…

Beyond Mrs. Bach

The classical music world has been all a-tizzy in recent days about Martin Jarvis’ work linking Anna Magdalena Bach to J.S. Bach’s Cello Suites.  The story first made headlines in 2008, and again last week now that the theory is explored in a film. The responses to the very idea that Bach’s highly trained wife, who often copied Bach’s works and also helped direct the musical education of all of the Bach children, have been fascinating to observe.  From trolling commenters on news articles to lengthly responses from academics, it seems that it is nearly impossible to entertain the notion that Anna Magdalena could have had…

Classical Music and Children

NPR’s Classical Music blog, Deceptive Cadence, has been running a series on how to introduce and include children in classical music making and appreciating. The series has included many thoughtful comments by readers as well as guest-posts from some big names – including conductor Marin Alsop. Not surprisingly, while the comments list a range of examples of composers or specific pieces, women’s work in music is not mentioned at all. (You can read some selected reader’s comments here). It would seem to me that one simple way to invite children to participate with and become interested and invested in music…