“Bach saved my life…”

Cover of recent reissue of Zuzana Růžičková’s recordings of Bach keyboard concertos conducted by Václav Neumann. (Image courtesy of Supraphon)


Democracy may die in darkness, but a recent Washington Post article proves that the human spirit can emerge triumphant. Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková turned 90 earlier this year—a milestone that was marked by reissues from Warner Classics and Supraphon and a documentary on her life, Zuzana: Music is Life.

The Washington Post article detailed how the idea for the film, which is directed by her cousin, came to fruition first as idea, then as deed. It then briefly outlined some of the horrors that she was forced to endure across much of her 90 years—the Nazi invasion of her homeland, followed by her harrowing internment in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and finally 45 years of Soviet repression.

Yet she has survived and thrived, while the rest crumbled upon the ashheap of history. “Bach saved my life,” she said. “You always feel in his music that God is present somehow.”

Zuzana: Music is Life is screening this weekend in Washington, D. C.—hopefully to be followed by some in Los Angeles. In the meantime, the above CD reissues deserve your immediate attention; each one a burning testament to the passion and poise of her artistry, as well as to that indomitable spirit that remained unbowed.


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