Historical - Development 2015

The life of composer Johann Sebastian Bach is explored in this true story about how he took on the conventions of church and society by incorporating personal aguish, joy and faith in music for the first time.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Historical, Biography, Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 25 - 50 M$
    • Writer(s)
    • Jeffrey FREEDMAN
    • Producer(s)
    • S.J. EVANS (Dark Art Films), Jeffrey FREEDMAN
    • Synopsis
    • The Voyager 1 spacecraft penetrates deep space as it carries a golden record containing information about planet Earth, including our greatest examples of artistic creation, most notably, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.. We hear Bach’s music as the ship approaches a small green planet on the edge of our galaxy. We retrace Voyager's trajectory at the speed of light until we land back on Earth outside Cafe Zimmermann, Leipzig, Germany in the 18th century, where Bach first performs music in a non-church setting for the general public and introduces public performance which not only premier some of Bach's greatest compositions but also set the stage for every classical, romantic, modern, pop and subsequent bands and composers who follow him. Our story begins…
      Nothing influences BACH more as a composer and as a man than constant sickness, death, loss in his life which occurs throughout the story. Even as Bach's extraordinary talent is discovered and nurtured, he is losing siblings and his parents to disease and death, the most devastating instance being the loss of both parents by age 10 when he is sent to an older brother for care and music instruction. Before long he is asked to leave this home when his brother starts having a family of his own and thus begins a continuous series of heart breaking moves, hiring’s, firings, acceptance, reconciliation, rage at schools, religious and music institutions and employers as Bach searches for a home which might nurture and shelter him from the sickness, death and abandonment which haunt him throughout his formative years.
      Soon Bach's extraordinary talent as an organist and cantor and music instructor are recognized by princes, dukes and religious establishments throughout Thuringia. However, Bach is constantly complaining about being underpaid, asked to work with inferior instruments, choruses or musicians and not appreciated as the singularly progressive musician and composer he is. This results in jail sentences, physical confrontations with students, constant problems with church and state officials. Bach continues to walk out on jobs and employers whom he does not believe appreciate him, even as he takes his first wife and begins to compose what is to be a total of 20 children he fathers.
      As we follow Bach throughout the first turbulent but musically revolutionary years of his life, we are introduced to Christiane Mariana Von Ziegler in Leipzig, the daughter of an influential lawyer and politician who has been sentenced to a 40-year prison sentence for questionable malfeasance. In addition to tirelessly working to have her father's sentence commuted, she also hosts salons which attract poets, painters, musicians, scholars and bohemians in the bustling city of Leipzig. She is also a librettist whose life intersects with Bach's when he gets to Leipzig with his family, is in need of libretti for his cantatas and discovers in Christiane someone who is as strong-headed, proud, confrontational and as much ahead of her time as he is. She is, indeed, one of the art world's first great 'feminists,' a cigar-smoking one at that who shows no hesitation when it comes to infiltrating the hallowed all-male domains of places like Zimmermann's Cafe, and organizing the lives and careers of ambitious artists, actors, singers etc.
      The stage for this great collaboration between Bach and Christiane is set when Bach proves too temperamental and musically advanced for all of the royalty and religious authorities in Thuringia. Thus, as the third choice of the governors of Leipzig for the post of cantor, they hire Bach who arrives with his growing family and increasingly pugnacious attitude. Here he meets his creative nemesis, ERNESTI, a devious senior government official who conspires to play the city fathers and clergy against Bach, as well as meeting his saviour, DEYLING, an elderly cleric who supports Bach and is a constant reminder of humility.
      It is in Leipzig that the dramatic, artistically revolutionary impact of Bach's life and music are played out. Bach's conflict with Ernesti, the town governors, as well as church authority reaches breaking point as they and members of the congregation complain that the music he is composing for church services and for the boys is of a passionate and personal nature, which has no place in public or religious institutions.
      At the same time, Bach is losing as many children to disease and death as he is producing with his second wife (after the premature death of his first wife), driving him on to create even bolder compositions to challenge even God himself. All of this reaches feverish pitch as Bach moves the 'theater of live music and performance' from church to cafe and tavern, he continues to lose children, friends and colleagues to disease and his relationship with friends and foes in Leipzig as well as collaboration with Christiane intensifies and plays out in the third and final act of our story.
      Bach is a truly inspirational and moving tale of one of the World’s greatest and most loved composers, which is sure to move audiences from laughter, to tears, to anger to reconciliation through the healing nature of music as we travel the turbulent journey with Johann Sebastian Bach.
    • Partners & financing
    • Looking for international co-producers and private investors
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Jul 01, 2015