Olaf Schmidt

The King’s Oboist. The Adventurous Life of Johann Jacob Bach

Der Oboist des Königs

The King’s Oboist. The Adventurous Life of  Johann Jacob Bach

A novel about Johann Sebastian Bach’s brother whose time in the service of the king of Sweden led him to Russia and to the Ottoman Empire where he discovered new musical worlds

Their parents’ early deaths leave Johann Jacob Bach and his brilliant little brother Johann Sebastian orphaned. Faster than anyone else in the extensive musical Bach family, Johann Sebastian manages to secure a lucrative position as choirmaster – Johann Jacob, on the other hand, opts out: He travels across the country as a wandering minstrel, meets Händel, Telemann and others, and becomes a member of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.

He is then swept up by the geopolitical upheavals that were shaking up all of Europe at the time: The reckless, adventurous king Charles XII of Sweden is conquering large swathes of Central Europe, including Saxony – and, through a twist of fate, Johann Jacob finds himself a regimental musician in the king’s personal guard. As a result, he ends up in the Russian campaign, which collapses in the vast expanses of Russia amidst the Russian winter and ends with the devastating Battle of Poltava, in which the starving Swedish army is wiped out almost completely and the injured King Charles and his personal guard just barely manage to save themselves – escaping to Turkey, where the powerless and destitute Charles dreams of revenge and tries to cure his depression through music; and where the musician Johann Jacob Bach discovers new musical worlds.



ISBN: 978-3-86971-185-0
release: 07. March 2019
544 pages, gebunden mit SU


25,00 €
0,00 sFr
25,70 €

About the Author

Olaf Schmidt was born on the island of Föhr. Today, he lives in Leipzig, is editor of the Leipzig city magazine Kreuzer and an authority on music, literature and history – not just the Baroque. Among other books, he has published the novel Friesenblut (“Frisian Blood”, 2006).