The Long sufferings of Anna Magdalena Bach
ABC 1998
Radio inside a Violin: A gift to Jon Rose by the marketing department of WDR Cologne
  • Written and performed by Jon Rose
  • MIDI programming by Jon Rose
  • The spoken voice of Anna Magdalena - Lucy Bell
  • The sung voice of Anna Magdalena - Fatima Miranda
  • Technical direction - John Jacobs
  • Production for The ABC Listening Room - Sherre de Lys
  • This radiophonic work consists of a set of musical and textural variations using the full range of Baroque techniques (inversions, retrograde, retrograde inversions, and fugal forms), and also more contemporary and anachronistic proceedures...including the use of various 'chaotic' algorithms and radical keyboard 'tunings'. Themes of childbirth, death, sex, and the meaning of ‘the random generator’ are interpolated with these virtual keyboards.

In the Forschungsabteilung of the Stadtbibliothek Leipzig, a fragment of notation was found in the early 1990s. This single line of music was quite clearly a 'ground bass' intended for a set of variations.... or indeed improvisations. The line does bare some resemblance to a dance movement from The Anna Magdalena Songbook which Bach wrote for his second wife, the said Anna Magdalena....but this theme is not in the master's hand. Who then was the author? Handwriting experts have ruled out all of Bach's composer sons, so who's left? The mother of course. There is a genetic link in the handwriting according to Dr. Fritz Meinhof of Humboldt University, Berlin. And he is convinced after 2 years of study that the fragment of music does indeed belong to Anna Magdalena. This represents quite an extraordinary historical find and it has sent Bach experts from around the world scurrying to Leipzig for a sneak look at the manuscript.

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