The Long sufferings of Anna Magdalena Bach
ABC 1998
Radio inside a Violin: A gift to Jon Rose by the marketing department of WDR Cologne
  • Written and performed by Jon Rose
  • MIDI programming by Jon Rose
  • The spoken voice of Anna Magdalena - Lucy Bell
  • The sung voice of Anna Magdalena - Fatima Miranda
  • Technical direction - John Jacobs
  • Production for The ABC Listening Room - Sherre de Lys
  • This radiophonic work consists of a set of musical and textural variations using the full range of Baroque techniques (inversions, retrograde, retrograde inversions, and fugal forms), and also more contemporary and anachronistic proceedures...including the use of various 'chaotic' algorithms and radical keyboard 'tunings'. Themes of childbirth, death, sex, and the meaning of ‘the random generator’ are interpolated with these virtual keyboards.

In the Forschungsabteilung of the Stadtbibliothek Leipzig, a fragment of notation was found in the early 1990s. This single line of music was quite clearly a 'ground bass' intended for a set of variations.... or indeed improvisations. The line does bare some resemblance to a dance movement from The Anna Magdalena Songbook which Bach wrote for his second wife, the said Anna Magdalena....but this theme is not in the master's hand. Who then was the author? Handwriting experts have ruled out all of Bach's composer sons, so who's left? The mother of course. There is a genetic link in the handwriting according to Dr. Fritz Meinhof of Humboldt University, Berlin. And he is convinced after 2 years of study that the fragment of music does indeed belong to Anna Magdalena. This represents quite an extraordinary historical find and it has sent Bach experts from around the world scurrying to Leipzig for a sneak look at the manuscript.

What's New

March 2023
'Beak' - Kronos Quartet plays the world premiere, a composition based on the song of a Pied Butcherbird by Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor.
Adelaide Festival
July 2022
'Fringe Benefits 1977​-​1985' - Historic glimpses of Improvised and Experimental Music in Australia; making available recordings from the original vinyl and cassette catalogue on Fringe Benefits.
May 2021
'State of Play' titles my double album featuring duo improvisations and recent projects with a cast of great collaborators...out now!
ReR Recommended Records, London
May - October 2021
'Whistling in the Dark' embraces a set of duets between various pied butcherbirds (from field recordings in outback Australia) and virtuosic human musicians (in home lockdown) performing transcriptions of this extraordinary avian music.
On Line Project available September
November 2021 - Premiere
'Mendel's Mix' - A commission for Brno Contemporary Orchestra. Finally after many Covid-19 delays, the work is performed. Inspired by the 'father' of genetics, Johann Gregor Mendel, and based on the structure of DNA, you can mix your own version here.
Brno, Czech Republic
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