The Numbering of Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerti

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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.

My only com­plaint about this table is that it presents the data sort­ed by only one sys­tem, which means that it some­times takes a while to hunt through the oth­er columns to find what you’re look­ing for. So, I decid­ed to make the com­plete­ly sortable ver­sion below. As long as you have Javascript enabled, you can click on any col­umn head­er to sort the con­cer­ti by that num­ber­ing sys­tem. This should make it easy to locate whichev­er num­ber you need. I’ve also added in Vivaldi’s two incom­plete bas­soon con­cer­ti, just for the sake of com­plete­ness. Below the table you’ll find expla­na­tions of the num­ber­ing sys­tems, if you care to know why we have so many.

Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerti

Key Ryom Rinal­di Pincher­le Malipiero/Tomo Fan­na
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.

  • Jonathan Westerling

    February 2nd, 2021


    I hope this email finds you and yours doing OK. I have run across your site on a few occa­sions and won­dered if you have the time or incli­na­tion to con­nect. I might be able to help you with audio restora­tion projects, and per­haps you can lend some guid­ance to a Vival­di project that I am work­ing on.
    Please con­tact me at your convenience.
    Kind regards, Jonathan

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