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
The Washington Post