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.
However, Johann Sebastian dies. So, Friedemann is confronted with a series of disappointments. Being demanded again and again to play music following his father's style, he finally passes, when applying in Braunschweig, one of his father's early compositions off as one of his own. The truth is discovered, Antonia and Christoph are unable to understand Friedemann, who is frustrated and responds that he no longer wants to be compared with his father Johann Sebastian but wants to be Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Embittered, he joins a group of travelling actors who regard him to be as what he is. As Christoph comes after years to see him and tells him that Antonia had been waiting for him in Braunschweig, Friedemann wants to see her again. Antonia, however, has meanwhile married Count Heinrich von Brühl. When Friedemann's group gives a performance in Dresden, the Count arranges that Friedemann and Antonia meet. Although she is still willing to help him, Friedemann shows her his full embitterment; at the Count's behest, Friedemann has to leave Saxony. Desperately, Friedemann offers one of his father's compositions to a music trader. As one of the trader's client mocks Johann Sebastian Bach, Friedemann starts to argue with the client who hurts Friedemann with a rapier; shortly after, Friedemann dies.
THERE IS A NEWSREEL ALONG WITH THE FILM, JUST AS GERMAN AUDIENCES MIGHT HAVE SEEN WHEN THE MOVIE WAS FIRST SHOWN (except this newsreel may not be contemporary to when the film was released).
DVD-R IS IN GERMAN WITH SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES .
QUALITY (of feature film only):
· Digital Quality? - yes
· Sharpness of picture? - digitally sharp
LENGTH OF FEATURE FILM: 97 mins
LENGTH OF NEWSREEL: 13 mins
PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW. IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):