New on our Bookshelves: AbelWV

Thursday, September 7, 2023

A new catalog of works for Carl Friedrich Abel (cited in RISM as AbelWV) by Günter von Zadow has inspired us to revise the composer’s records in RISM RISM Catalog | RISM Online. We’ve gotten this started and the rest will follow.

Günter von Zadow, Catalogue of Works of Carl Friedrich Abel (AbelWV). Ortus Studien 26. Beeskow: Ortus Musikverlag, 2023. 470 p. ISBN 978-3-937788-76-0.

This catalog is just in time for the 300th birthday of Carl Friedrich Abel (1723, Köthen - 1787, London) on 22 December 2023.

A total of 420 works are described, each with incipits, sources, and concordances. Since Carl Friedrich Abel composed almost exclusively instrumental works, the catalog is arranged by instrumentation: Category A - One Instrument, Category B - Two Instruments, etc. until Category E - Symphonies and Category F - Concertos. Category G is for other works, such as the few vocal works. A significant advantage of this arrangement is the possibility for it to be expanded. In case new works are found, they can be inserted without a problem. Each category opens with a chapter giving an overview of the works in context.

Different indexes are included: opus number, autographs, manuscripts, list of the printed editions in RISM, publishers, and concordances to older catalogs.

An index of incipits lists all of the movements in AbelWV. They are grouped by key. Within a key, the incipits are ordered by their first, second, and third interval. This enables a fast search for a work if its exact title is unknown.

An appendix offers a timeline of Abel’s printed works. Only approximate dates are given, since most of the printed editions are undated and secondary sources were consulted.

Thirty-four title pages are reproduced, arranged by opus number.

A list of dedicatees or other people connected with Abel’s compositions would have been nice, as well as a list of the libraries where Abel’s works are preserved.

This catalog is in English but this should not prevent anyone from purchasing this new scholarly publication or working with it.

Image: Title page from Carl Friedrich Abel, Six trios a violon, viola et violoncelle, Berlin /Amsterdam, J. J. Hummel, ca. 1784. Copy from Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Münster (D-MÜu NK Mus. 1), RISM ID no. 1001108788, (RISM Catalog | RISM Online). Available online Public Domain

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