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Reviewed by:
  • Antonio Vivaldi: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (RV)
  • Eleanor Selfridge-Field
Antonio Vivaldi: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (RV). By Peter Ryom. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 2007. [xxx, 633 p. ISBN-13: 9783765103728. €98.] Fascimile, bibliographic references, indexes.

The only competition for Peter Ryom's Antonio Vivaldi: Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (RV) comes from earlier works by Ryom himself. These begin with his Verzeichnis der Werke Antonio Vivaldis, Kleine Ausgabe (Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1974; revised ed., 1977) and continue with the collective source-study of unprinted materials Les manuscrits des Vivaldi (Copenhagen: Antonio Vivaldi Archives, 1977) plus the instrumental-music catalog called Répertoire des oeuvres d'Antonio Vivaldi : les compositions instrumentales (Copenhagen: Engstrøm & Sødring, 1986). The first exposition of the RV numbering system came in his Table de concordances des œuvres (RV) (Copenhagen: Engstrøm & Sødring, 1973). All of Ryom's Vivaldi works (apart from translations into English of prefaces and introductions in the two later catalogues) are in French or German. The contents and main differences between the three catalogs (hereafter cited as A, B, and C) are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1.
(Ryom review)
Feature Kleine Ausgabe Répertoire des
systematisches Verzeichnis
Code used here A B C
Date(s) of publication 1974/rev. 1977 1986 2007
Place of publication Leipzig Copenhagen Wiesbaden
No. of pages 214; rev. 226 726 + lxxviii 633 + xxx
Nature of entries Brief extensive comprehensive
Numbering-system allocations
        Instrumental works 1–585 1–585 1–585
        Sacred vocal works, oratorios, 586–648 586–648
        et al.
        Secular cantatas 649–686 649–686
        Serenatas 687–694 687–694
        Operas 695–740 695–740
        Unclassifiable works 741–750 741–750
        Authorship claim rejected Anhang 1–63 Anhang 1–134
        Summary of recently 751–808
        discovered works (1974–2006)

Any reader comparing these publications at a glance will be led to believe that there is little difference in the contents, because the outer limits of work numbers do not seem to vary by category. However, the total number of instrumental works (covered in all three) is not actually uniform, because relative to A (and to each other), B and C [End Page 294] contain insertions and deletions. Fifty-seven new works have been added to the pool of authentic works since 1974. Seventy-one entries have been added to the appendix (Anhang) of works not considered to be by Vivaldi, and some of these are collections of works or work-fragments. Recently disattributed works hold a permanent place in the main numbering system but in lieu of an entry, the reader is referred to its new placement in the appendix. Some works which were originally placed in the appendix have taken "newly discovered" numbers (i.e., 751+) and are now integrated in the main sequence. What is stable is the tree-structure organization for instrumental music, which begins with genre (sonata, concerto), then passes to instrumentation, then to key (further segregated by mode). Ryom has abandoned an earlier sub-numbering system (in which some of this classification data was encoded) in C. Operas are ordered alphabetically. Vocal repertories employ various principles of organization (key and instrumentation where multiple works bear the same title; alphabetical order for the operas).

Table 1 also indicates that since C has a smaller page count than B, which covers only instrumental music, its typography (while admirably clear and employing helpful contrasts and running headers) relies on font sizes that will be problematical for some users. This raises the issue of whether committing so much material to one volume was a wise choice. It also raises the question of whether it was really necessary to reproduce the section on instrumental music. The whole of B is represented in the first 258 pages of C. Yet it is not entirely the same material. B includes with each entry a generous comment on details of manuscript sources. This has been almost entirely excluded from C, although the sources themselves are fully listed. No harm is done to those seeking instrumental listings, since they can still consult B and also Les manuscrits. Since, however, a terse listing is maintained for the vocal and...


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