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Bachmann, Jacob


BACHMANN, JACOB (1846–1905), Russian ḥazzan and composer of synagogue music. Bachmann served as a boy-singer with the ḥazzan of his native town of Berdichev. He developed a phenomenal voice and was admitted to the Petrograd Conservatoire in 1864. Anton *Rubinstein became his teacher and later took him on his concert tours as a solo singer. Bachmann, nevertheless, decided to be a ḥazzan and established his reputation at the synagogues of Berdichev, Rostov, and Constantinople. During his stay at Lemberg until 1884, Bachmann founded a mixed choir and took up composition. As successor to Osias *Abrass at Odessa (1884–85), he was acclaimed by the public. He later settled in Budapest. Bachmann's voice is said to have covered the entire range from dramatic tenor to powerful bass, highlighted by an extraordinary echo-falsetto. His compositions are influenced by Rubinstein, the "Westerner" in Russian music. Bachmann was eager to show command of contemporary musical devices (Schirath Jacob, pp. 54, 79, 89, 95, 96), including reminiscences of Bach (ibid., p. 188) or Meyerbeer (ibid., p. 89), and was able to write striking, though rather conventional, choral settings (ibid., pp. 18–19). However, Bachmann has to be judged by his improvisations in traditional ḥazzanut, a small part of which is included in his printed works. Bachmann's cantorial recitative was at its best at the sublime moments of the High Holy Days' liturgy (ibid., 159–64). Works: Cantata (Ps. 45) for the silver jubilee of Francis i (1879); Schirath Jacob (1884); Uwaschofor godol (1889); and Attah Zokher (after 1905). Unpublished works exist in manuscript form in the David Putterman Library, n.y.

See also G. Ephros, Cantorial Anthology, 2 (1929), 117–119.


Wininger, Biog, 1 (1925), 214–5; E. Zaludkowski, Kultur-Treger fun der Yidisher Liturgye… (1930), 191–2; Sendrey, Music, indexes; Minkowski, in: Reshumot, 5 (1927), 145–60.

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