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‘Written by Mrs Bach’ to premiere at Deckchair Cinema

By Leanne Miles

A film on research by Professor Martin Jarvis will screen at the Deckchair cinema this month A film on research by Professor Martin Jarvis will screen at the Deckchair cinema this month

The Australian premiere of a controversial documentary based on pioneering research by a Charles Darwin University academic that shocked the classical music world, will screen at the Deckchair Cinema in Darwin this month.

The documentary “Written by Mrs Bach” is based on the book of the same name written by Professor Martin Jarvis and directed by BAFTA winning filmmaker Alex McCall.

This globally significant research by Professor Jarvis changed the course of music history in suggesting that some of Johann Sebastian Bach's most significant works were most likely composed by his second wife Anna Magdalena.

The film documents Professor Jarvis’ research, which was undertaken at CDU in Darwin, along his visit to Leipzig, Germany the home of Bach and Anna Magdalena and where the Cello Suites were believed to have been composed.

Using modern forensics, the film sets out the case for Anna Magdalena Bach and investigates the impact on the value of Bach autographs in the wake of Professor Jarvis’ research.

Professor Jarvis entered a sea of controversy when he published his book, based on a decade of research combining the principles and techniques of scientific forensic document examination and traditional musical analysis techniques to test his theory.

Upon his visit to the Bach-Archive in Leipzig, Professor Jarvis took on scholars and protagonists who defend the believed truth of Bach as composer.

“Written by Mrs Bach” is a science-based investigative documentary presented by British composer Sally Beamish and follows Professor Jarvis on his fact finding mission to gather advice from a team of experts, musicians and academics, travelling to Cöthen in Germany and Karlsbad in the Czech Republic, and ending in the UK at the Royal Academy of Music.

The documentary features footage of CDU Casuarina campus, where he conducted his research, at work as a conductor and at his home in Darwin. The documentary also features interviews with CDU Historian Emeritus Professor Alan Powell.

The film’s Executive Producer, Pamela Kaufman, said it had been a 10-year journey to get Professor Jarvis' research to the screen. “We are so pleased to debunk myths about Bach's life that were previously accepted as solid facts,” Ms Kaufman said.

The film was first aired in Europe in late 2014 and has already won a number of awards including Best Director award at the St Tropez Film Festival for the documentary and the prestigious World Gold Medal (Art) at the New York Film Festival. In March 2015, it was broadcast by the BBC in the UK.

Deckchair Cinema will host the first cinema screenings of “Written by Mrs Bach” in Australia on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 August. This documentary event includes a classical music performance by Darwin musicians, and will be followed by a Q&A with Professor Jarvis and other guests. Gates open at 6.30pm for a 7.30pm start.

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