Saturday, November 17, 2007

K, BWV, D: What do they mean?

This article will explain the "K" numbers, the "BWV" numbers and the "D" numbers that you see on concert programs and recordings.

Köchel catalogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Köchel-Verzeichnis is a complete, chronological catalogue of compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart which was originally created by Ludwig von Köchel. It is abbreviated K or KV. For example, Mozart's Requiem in D minor was, according to Köchel's counting, the 626th piece Mozart composed. Thus, the piece is designated K. 626. Köchel catalog numbers not only attempt to establish chronology, but also give a helpful shorthand to refer to Mozart's works.

In the decades after Mozart's death there were several attempts to catalogue his compositions, but it was not until 1862 that Ludwig von Köchel succeeded. Köchel's 551-page catalogue was titled Chronologisch - thematisches Verzeichnis sämtlicher Tonwerke Wolfgang Amadé Mozarts (Chronological - Thematic Catalogue of the Complete Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart). The catalogue included the opening bars of each piece, (an incipit).

Köchel attempted arranging the works in chronological order, but the compositions written before 1784 could only be estimated. Since Köchel's work, many more pieces have been found, re-attributed, and re-dated, requiring eight catalogue revisions. These editions, especially the third by Alfred Einstein (1937), and the sixth by Franz Giegling, Gerd Sievers, and Alexander Weinmann (1964), incorporated many corrections.

Even so, Köchel's numbers are a quick way to estimate when Mozart composed a particular work. For Kn > 100, one may divide it by 25, add 10, yielding an estimate of Mozart's age at time of composition; if one adds 1756, it estimates the year of composition. To maintain as much of the original K-numbering of the list, while re-ordering in the revised, chronological sequence, letters were added to the new numbers.

Ludwig Ritter von Köchel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ludwig Alois Ferdinand Ritter von Köchel (IPA: [ˈkœçəl]) (January 14, 1800 – June 3, 1877) was a musicologist, writer, composer, botanist and publisher. He is best known for cataloguing the works of Mozart and originating the 'K-numbers' by which they are known (K for Köchel).

Born in the town of Stein, Lower Austria, he studied law in Vienna, and for fifteen years was tutor to the four sons of Archduke Charles of Austria. Köchel was rewarded with a knighthood and a generous financial settlement, permitting him to spend the rest of his life as a private scholar. Contemporary scientists were greatly impressed by his botanical researches in North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, the United Kingdom, the North Cape, and Russia. Additional to botany, he was interested in geology and mineralogy, but also loved music, and was a member of the Mozarteum Salzburg.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) is the numbering system identifying compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. The prefix BWV, followed by the work's number now is the shorthand identification for Bach's compositions. The works are grouped thematically, not chronologically.

Wolfgang Schmieder assigned the BWV numbers in 1950, to indicate the work's placement in the Bach works catalogue titled Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach. The BWV numbers are universally used and accepted as the standard numbering of Bach's works, for example Mass in B minor is BWV 232. Works believed incomplete or of doubtful authenticity at the time of cataloguing were listed in the BWV Anhang (BWV appendix), and are identified by BWV Anh number. The BWV catalogue is occasionally updated, with newly discovered works added at its end, though spurious works do not have their numbers removed.

The BWV numbers are occasionally found in older publications as, e.g. S. 232, and referred to as Schmieder Numbers, though Schmieder opposed this nomenclature and usage, not wishing his name overtly linked to the works (as a point of modesty).

Wolfgang Schmieder
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wolfgang Schmieder (May 29, 1901 – November, 1990) was a German musicologist

Schmieder was born in Bromberg, Lower Austria. In 1950, he published the BWV, or Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis ("Bach Works Catalogue"), a catalog of musical works by Johann Sebastian Bach. The numbering system used in the BWV has since become a nearly universal standard, used by scholars and musicians around the world. Schmieder served as the Special Advisor for Music for the City and University library at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main from April 1942 until his retirement in 1963. He lived in Freiburg im Breisgau until his death in November 1990 at the age of 89.

The Listing of Franz Schubert's Works with "D" numbers.

The indication "D" or "D." refers to "Deutsch", that is Otto Erich Deutsch, who created a (more or less) chronological (by composition date) catalogue of Schubert's works. Note that this catalogue has been amended several times, leading to numbers followed by a letter, for example D.769a, formerly D.900 (because historical research led to a new probable date of composition).

The compositions of Schubert listed below are grouped generically, by type of composition. Not all thematic groups of Schubert works have a separate numbering that is generally accepted: for example the numbering of the piano sonatas proved particularly cumbersome, see below. Also for the symphonies the numbering from 1 to 10 is only "stable" insofar as no more new symphonies turn up. For most other groups of works there was no real attempt to number them, apart from the general numbering in the Deutsch catalogue.

Less than 100 of Schubert's compositions received an Opus number during Schubert's life: about half of the Opus numbers are posthumous, and give no indication at all regarding a chronological - or any other - order, except regarding the chronological order of publication. By the end of the 19th century no new opus numbers were added; for new publications the Deutsch number was used.

Otto Erich Deutsch
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Otto Erich Deutsch (September 5, 1883 – November 23, 1967) was a jewish musicologist. He is best known for his catalogue of the works of Franz Schubert (January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828) - it is from this that the D numbers used to identify Schubert's pieces are drawn.

He also wrote many articles on Franz Schubert and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and compiled "documentary biographies" (collections of contemporary documents concerning the subject) on Schubert, Mozart and George Frideric Handel.

The Numbering of Schubert's Symphonies

Between 1813 and 1818 Schubert wrote six symphonies, now known as Nos.1-6. In 1818 he drafted a four-movement symphony in E (now No.7) in outline but only orchestrated the start of the first movement. In 1822 he composed and orchestrated two movements of a symphony in B minor (now No.8, the ‘Unfinished’) and drafted part of a third movement; whether or not he had drafted a finale remains moot. In 1825-26 he completed a large symphony in C major (now No.9, the ‘Great’). There are in addition numerous sketches and fragments for other symphonies, and in the 1970s it was realized that these included the nearly-complete draft of a three-movement Symphony in D from the summer and autumn of 1828. A performing version of this work was orchestrated by Brian Newbould as Symphony No.10.

The first Schubert Symphony to be performed was the ‘Great’: this was designated by Schubert’s brother Ferdinand as ‘No.7’ as early as the 1830s. In the 1840s the thematic catalogue of Schubert’s works prepared by Alois Fuchs accepted this numbering and also called the drafted E major symphony ‘No.8’. The two completed movements of the B minor symphony were not performed until 1865, and it was George Grove who decided that this symphony – the ‘Unfinished’ - should be No.8, with the E major dropping to No.7 and the Great C major becoming No.9. Though this has been the preferred numbering ever since, not least because it respects the chronological order of these works, the old numbering of the Great C major as No.7 has been remarkably persistent and is still sometimes encountered. In addition to this the revised Deutsch catalogue edited by Walter Dürr and Arnold Fell has proposed that the E major Symphony should have no number, that the ‘Unfinished’ should be called ‘No.7’ and the Great C major ‘No.8’: but this view, as well as being illogical – the E major Symphony is essentially an entire work, as various completions have shown – is unlikely to prevail over current practice.

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