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Zuzana - Music is Life (LP & DVD)

Zuzana Růžičková harpsichord | Mahan Esfahani harpsichord
FILMharmonic Orchestra, Daedalus Quartet
Adam Klemens

A Story of love, Tyranny and Triumph

Documentary film by Peter Getzels and Harriet Gordon Getzels

Recalling a life of love, tyranny and triumph, Zuzana Růžičková endured forty years of persecution in Czechoslovakia for her refusal to join the Communist Party, while becoming a legendary harpsichordist and interpreter of Bach around the world. ‘I thought this must be some kind of a joke,’ she says of Communists replacing Nazis in 1948. ‘I was so wrapped up in my music, I didn’t care about politics; which was a great mistake of course.’ Crediting Bach – and a hundred miracles – with surviving countless horrors in Terezin, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, Zuzana describes a ‘higher order that makes sense of life’ in Bach’s fugues. In 1956, she won the top award at the Munich Music Festival, which launched a fifty-year international career. Despite constant surveillance, marginal employment and confiscation of foreign currency wages by the Czech Communist Party, Zuzana became the only person in the world to record all the keyboard works of Bach – which he composed exclusively for harpsichord. 


Johann Sebastian Bach: Capriccio in B-flat Major, BWV 992 "On the Departure of the Beloved Brother"; Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906; Toccata in G minor, BWV 915; Toccata in F-sharp minor, BWV 910

“She’s a musical pioneer, a grande dame of her country’s music scene [...]. Her story sounds like a movie. Now, it is one.”
The Washington Post
The Critics' Circle Music Awards 2017: Special Award

Facts DVD

Item number
UPC number
Region code
Picture format
NTSC 16:9
Sound format
PCM Stereo
dts 5.1
Total running time
148 mins
Details running time
83 mins Documentary & 27 mins Bonus on DVD, 38 mins Concert on Vinyl/LP
English, German
Booklet notes
No. of discs
Interviews and Performances with Mahan Esfahani, Robert Neufeld, Vaclav Luks, Viktor Kalabis and Daedalus Quartet