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The Great Northern War
Sunday, 17 April 2016
Johann Jacob Bach in the Swedish army : part 2
Topic: Musicians

Some weeks ago I touched upon the story of Johann Jacob Bach and his service in the Swedish army. It was originally my intention to publish an article on the subject in some suitable journal, but other subjects have a tendency of getting in the way. So I'll do it here instead. 

One of the versions is that Bach joined the Swedish army in 1704, another that he did so in 1707. Let us start with the first one. What happened in 1704? Well, a few new dragoon regiments were recruited, one of the them under the command of Gustaf Adam Taube. So let's check the oldest muster rolls for 1704-1705 for the regiment's hautboists. And there he is as no 1: Johann Jacob Pach (Generalmönsterrullor, Arkiv med löpande volymnumrering, SE/KrA/0023/0/1603 (1704), bildid: A0029803_00009). 

Despite the spelling there is no question about the identity as Bach also turns up in the records from Bender as hautboist from the Taube dragoons, in one case even with his own signature.


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:02 PM MEST
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Sunday, 13 December 2015
Johann Jacob Bach in the Swedish army : part 1
Topic: Musicians

In 1905 the French musicologist André Pirro wrote to Krigsarkivet in Stockholm, asking for information about Johann Jacob Bach's service in the Swedish army. According to Pirro the brother of Johann Sebastian had joined the Life Guards as a musician in about 1704, followed the army to Poltava where he was captured and then kept as a prisoner in Bender until he went to Stockholm in 1713. The staff at Krigsarkivet looked for Bach in the existing records of the Life Guards, but to no avail. Some of Pirro's information was obviously incorrect (a Swedish soldier captured at Poltava would not have ended up in Bender), but the main points may well be true. A note, until fairly recently overlooked by musicologists, in the journal of the clergyman Sven Agrell places Bach in Constantinople in the spring of 1710. Agrell writes that the gave communion on the 13 April and that among those present was a certain "Jacob Bach, an apprentice musician from Erfurt" who was staying with Lt. Col. Funck. 

Another version of the Bach story appears in the Neue deutsche Biographie, where it is claimed that Bach joined the Life Guards in 1707. So what is the truth in all this. Well, perhaps Pirro and others after him have been looking in the wrong place. What if Bach served in another Swedish regiment? The year 1704, which goes back to a Bach manuscript often called "die Genealogie", seems entirely logical if it's only put in the proper context...


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:25 PM CET
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