Friedemann Bach
1941

Friedemann Bach

Friedemann Bach (Original Title)

"Friedemann Bach is a 1941 German film depicting the life of Johann Sebastian Bach's son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The film is based on Albert Emil Brachvogel's novel Friedemann Bach. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is shown as a gifted son trying to escape his father's shadows.

During a house concert, the Bach family gets a visit by their son Wilhelm Friedemann, who has just given up his position in Dresden because he no longer could endure the reprisals taken by his superiors. After he helps his sister Frederike to tell father Johann Sebastian about her engagement to Christoph Altnikol, the family gets a visit by a messenger from the Saxon Court. Johann Sebastian is asked to take part in a musical competition against French composer Louis Marchand. Johann Sebastian, however, does not want to let his Thomanerchor down and so, he sends Friedemann to Dresden. Friedemann wins the competition, as Louis Marchand takes flight during Friedemann's performance. Many aristocrats, among which is Comtesse Antonia Kollowrat, come to Friedemann to be taught in music; Friedemann is ordered by the court to write a ballet. Friedemann and ballet dancer Mariella Fiorini fall in love with each other, which is also due the influence of Count Graf von Brühl, who has an eye on Antonia. After the ballet is successful, Friedemann is to be appointed court composer. As Antonia criticizes the ballet, Friedemann recognizes that the court's superficiality does not go together with his artistic ambitions. Friedemann and Antonia fall in love with each other. Friedemann promises to find a new position and to get Antonia to join him; his father will surely help him."

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Admin comments

Friedemann Bach. Friedemann Bach is a little-known gem which lovers of mid-18th century music will find enjoyable. This is also a very compelling drama exploring the loneliness of the gifted and highly original creative genius struggling with the contradiction between the absolute demands of his artistic calling and the compromises required to please an audience and secure employment. You have an opportunity to appreciate a very unique acting style of the great Gustaf Gruendgens. I also would like to draw attention to the episode where a French composer, Louis Marchand, takes flight during Friedemann's performance. To me it looked like a cheap shot against France, not worthy of a great cultural nation like Germany.

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