If you’ve ever played, listened to, or researched anything by Antonio Vivaldi, then you’ve probably run into the mishmash of different numbering systems for his works. There are in fact five separate cataloging schemes for Vivaldi’s instrumental pieces, each with its own internal logic, and there’s no simple way to convert from one to another on the fly. It can thus be incredibly frustrating to go from a scholarly article to performing editions to critical or complete works editions to recordings, as each of those media may well reference a different number for the same piece.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about Vivaldi’s 39 bassoon concerti. The Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition, for which I’m the Director of Operations, uses a different Vivaldi concerto each time around. I wrote the liner notes for the first disc of Nadina Mackie Jackson’s series of all the concerti. Last year I created a new performing edition of his Concerto in g minor, RV 495. Throughout, I’ve been able to keep all the numbering systems straight thanks to Jeffrey Lyman’s excellent Table of Concordances: Vivaldi Concerti for Bassoon. This table lists all 37 complete concerti along with their designations in each of the five numbering systems, and builds on work by Trevor Cramer and George Conrey.
Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerti
|C Major||RV 466||Op. 40, #12||P. 51||M 274||F. VIII, 28|
|C Major||RV 467||Op. 40, #5||P. 48||M 239||F. VIII, 18|
|C Major (incomplete)||RV 468||Op. 40, #17||P. 55|
|C Major||RV 469||Op. 40, #8||P. 49||M 237||F. VIII, 16|
|C Major||RV 470||P. 43||M 281||F. VIII, 33|
|C Major||RV 471||Op. 40, #9||P. 50||M 282||F. VIII, 34|
|C Major||RV 472||Op. 40, #1||P. 45||M 238||F. VIII, 17|
|C Major||RV 473||Op. 57, #2||P. 90||M 118||F. VIII, 9|
|C Major||RV 474||Op. 45, #1||P. 69||M 47||F. VIII, 4|
|C Major||RV 475||Op. 40, #18||P. 56||M 267||F. VIII, 21|
|C Major||RV 476||Op. 40, #27||P. 57||M 277||F. VIII, 31|
|C Major||RV 477||P. 46||M 224||F. VIII, 13|
|C Major||RV 478||Op. 45, #4||P. 71||M 34||F. VIII, 3|
|C Major||RV 479||Op. 40, #14||P. 52||M 272||F. VIII, 26|
|c minor||RV 480||Op. 40, #4||P. 432||M 225||F. VIII, 14|
|d minor||RV 481||Op. 45, #7||P. 282||M 67||F. VIII, 5|
|d minor (incomplete)||RV 482||Op. 40, #16||P. 303|
|E-flat Major||RV 483||Op. 40, #10||P. 433||M 273||F. VIII, 27|
|e minor||RV 484||Op. 45, #2||P. 137||M 71||F. VIII, 6|
|F Major||RV 485||Op. 45, #5||P. 318||M 109||F. VIII, 8|
|F Major||RV 486||Op. 40, #19||P. 304||M 268||F. VIII, 22|
|F Major||RV 487||Op. 40, #6||P. 298||M 236||F. VIII, 15|
|F Major||RV 488||Op. 40, #7||P. 299||M 240||F. VIII, 19|
|F Major||RV 489||Op. 40, #21||P. 305||M 266||F. VIII, 20|
|F Major||RV 490||Op. 40, #25||P. 307||M 278||F. VIII, 32|
|F Major||RV 491||Op. 40, #13||P. 300||M 271||F. VIII, 25|
|G Major||RV 492||Op. 40, #15||P. 128||M 275||F. VIII, 29|
|G Major||RV 493||Op. 40, #26||P. 131||M 276||F. VIII, 30|
|G Major||RV 494||Op. 40, #24||P. 130||M 300||F. VIII, 37|
|g minor||RV 495||Op. 40, #20||P. 384||M 269||F. VIII, 23|
|g minor||RV 496||Op. 40, #2||P. 381||M 214||F. VIII, 11|
|a minor||RV 497||Op. 45, #6||P. 72||M 72||F. VIII, 7|
|a minor||RV 498||Op. 45, #3||P. 70||M 28||F. VIII, 2|
|a minor||RV 499||Op. 40, #3||P. 47||M 223||F. VIII, 12|
|a minor||RV 500||Op. 57, #1||P. 89||M 119||F. VIII, 10|
|B-flat major||RV 501||Op. 45, #8||P. 401||M 12||F. VIII, 1|
|B-flat major||RV 502||Op. 40, #11||P. 382||M 270||F. VIII, 24|
|B-flat major||RV 503||Op. 40, #23||P. 387||M 298||F. VIII, 35|
|B-flat major||RV 504||Op. 40, #22||P. 386||M 299||F. VIII, 36|
Only twelve collections of concerti and sonatas (none for bassoon) were published during Vivaldi’s own lifetime — these comprise 114 works out of his total output of more than 850. These were assigned opus numbers, but as far as we know, he didn’t number or otherwise record the order of the rest of his compositions. Over the years a number of scholars have taken on the task of grouping and ordering Vivaldi’s works, each taking a somewhat different approach. Here’s a brief rundown of the various systems:
Ryom: Peter Ryom’s Antonio Vivaldi: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (2007) is the most complete, accurate, and up-to-date catalog of Vivaldi’s compositions. It includes vocal works (left out of most earlier listings) as well as many more recent discoveries. Although the full catalog was only published in 2007, an initial version appeared in 1974 and its RV numbers have been the standard in scholarly discourse ever since. Ryom’s system consists of a main sequence of numbers (RV 1—808) with a separate listing (RV Anh. 1—134) for questionable or spurious works. The main sequence is oganized in a hierarchy of genre and instrumentation. We can narrow from Instrumental Works (RV 1—585), to Works for One Solo Instrument with Strings and Basso Continuo (RV 170—504), finally arriving at Concertos for Bassoon (RV 466—504). Within each narrow category, pieces are arranged by key.
Rinaldi: Mario Rinaldi published the first serious catalog of Vivaldi’s music in 1945. He organized Vivaldi’s works into collections, modeled after the twelve collections that were published during the composer’s lifetime. This unfortunately gives the impression of chronological ordering where there is none. He assigned the bassoon concerti to Op. 40, 45, and 57.
Pincherle: Marc Pincherle included a thematic catalog as the second volume of his 1948 book Antonio Vivaldi et las musique instrumentale. Pincherle grouped and numbered concerti by key, but not by solo instrument(s). So all of Vivaldi’s concerti in C major/a minor are listed first, followed by those in G major/e minor, etc. As you might guess from the title of Pincherle’s book, this numbering system includes only instrumental pieces, neglecting Vivaldi’s many operas and sacred vocal works.
Malipiero/Tomo: In 1947, the Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi and the Italian publisher Ricordi launched a collected edition of Vivaldi’s instrumental works. Some 530 scores were issued over the following two decades, and these were numbered in order of publication. These numbers are sometimes given with a prefix of “M” for editor Gian Francesco Malipiero (e.g. “M 269”). “Tomo” is Italian for tome or volume, and this is how the Ricordi scores themselves list the numbers (e.g. “Tomo 269”).
Fanna: In 1968, Ricordi issued an index to its Vivaldi edition prepared by Antonio Fanna, founder of the Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi. Fanna divided the works into sixteen categories, by instrumentation. F VIII contains all of the bassoon concerti.