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‘Written by Mrs Bach’ wins gold in USA

Researcher and author Professor Martin Jarvis is based at Charles Darwin University Researcher and author Professor Martin Jarvis is based at Charles Darwin University

A globally significant documentary based on pioneering research by a Charles Darwin University academic has won gold at an international film festival in the United States.

The film, entitled “Written by Mrs Bach”, recently received the World’s Best Gold Medal in the “Arts” category at the New York Festival's World's Best TV and Films Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

This award was a second triumph for the film, which also won an Award of Excellence at the IndieFest in California earlier this year. The film will also screen at the prestigious San Tropez and Nice International Film and Television Festival of World Cinema later this month.

The film is based on Professor Martin Jarvis’ book of the same name, which argued some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most famous works could be attributable to his second wife, Anna Magdalena.

Research that Professor Jarvis undertook at CDU is documented in the film, along with his visit to Leipzig, Germany where the Cello Suites were believed to have been composed at the home of Bach and Anna Magdalena.

“Anna Magdalena's musical calligraphy is her written fingerprint, and along with her musical fingerprint (the sound), I believe she was the true composer of the famed Cello Suites,” Professor Jarvis said.

The film follows Professor Jarvis on his mission to gather advice from a team of forensic experts, musicians and academics, travelling to Leipzig, Weimar and Cöthen in Germany and Karlsbad in the Czech Republic, and ending in the United Kingdom at the Royal Academy of Music.

Extensive footage of CDU, where he conducted his research, and at his home in Darwin is shown in the film. The documentary also features interviews with CDU Historian Emeritus Professor Alan Powell, Music Librarian Glenda Snyder and CDU PhD candidate Penny Reiss, who is continuing to research the Anna Magdalena Bach story.

The film, recently shown on BBC 4 in the UK, is narrated by British Composer Sally Beamish, scripted by Robert Beedham, directed by Alex McCall of Glasgow Films, and produced by Pamela Kaufman.