The Minuet Sings
The Minuet Sings
The vitality of Anna Magdalena Bach as a historical presence remains undiminished, its intensity felt perhaps most vibrantly in the worldwide Suzuki String Method, which is dedicated to strengthening the bonds between children and parents through music, and which draws from the Notebooks for some of its pedagogical milestones. But not all have been beholden to Anna Magdalena's maternal image. The trio of female singers called The Toys made the famous Minuet in G (BWV Anh. 114) from the Notebook of 1722 into a number one hit in 1965 as "A Lover's Concerto." Equipped with a text that might be heard to recall some of the romantic themes familiar to eighteenth-century female singers, the song was performed by the Toys with physical movements and the assured delivery that summon thoughts now of Anna Magdalena's forgotten career as a solo singer. Unwittingly, the Toys' hit liberates the original owner of the Notebooks from the confines of motherly duty and familial worship, and instead offers a creative way to reimagine Anna Magdalena's musical life: not just as long-suffering wife and mother, but as coveted soloist, pleasure-seeking keyboardist, curator of her own tastes—in sum, as a musical force in her own right.
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