Bach: A Passionate Life

Bach: A Passionate Life


We often picture Mozart as a tragic prodigy and Beethoven as a tortured genius, but JS Bach? The image tends to be dominated by the famous portrait, aged 62, plump and stern in his wig and frock coat.

Leading Bach interpreter John Eliot Gardiner here argues that this gets the man all wrong. The conservative image is at odds with what little evidence we have of Bach’s life – with accounts of brawls, periods in jail, and the smuggling of girls into his organ loft. Gardiner uncovers a passionate artist, a convivial family man whose rebel spirit is there not only in the documentary record but also in the music.


Conductor John Eliot Gardiner undertakes a tour of Germany to examine the relatively few clues there are about the life of the 18th-century German composer. He reveals that Bach was a complex and passionate artist and a warm and convivial family man, who at the same time was a rebellious spirit struggling with the hierarchies of State and Church.

Cast & Crew

Presenter John Eliot Gardiner
Director Cesca Eaton
Director David Jeffcock
Executive Producer Fiona Morris
Producer Cesca Eaton
Producer David Jeffcock
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