Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
This 53-minute documentary, one episode in the six-part Canadian TV series, Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach, attempts to link Johann Sebastian Bach's personal and professional life with the modern world. It is structured by director Patricia Rozema (I've Heard the Mermaids Singing) around the six movements of Bach's Suite No. 6 with cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing amid traffic on an island in a busy street, on a rooftop, and at other locations around Manhattan. Olympic gold medallists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean execute a graceful ice-skating accompaniment to the music because Ma believes "they did for ice-skating what Bach did for cello." Bach biographical information is provided by Tom McCamus. This film was shown at the 1997 Venice Film Festival. Other episodes of this series featured a Bach-inspired garden designed by Julie Moir Messervy, dimensional digital recreations of Piranesi engravings, and Yo-Yo Ma collaborations with Kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando, choreographer Mark Morris, and film director Atom Egoyan.