A new thematic catalogue of the musical works of Johann Georg Pisendel (PW) is now available

Fabrizio Ammetto

Thursday, February 15, 2024

We have received the following from Fabrizio Ammetto (University of Guanajuato, Mexico):

Three violinists- cum-musicologists hailing from three different countries (Italy, Spain and Colombia) – Fabrizio Ammetto, Francisco Javier Lupiáñez Ruiz and Luis Miguel Pinzón Acosta – have recently produced a new thematic catalogue of the musical works of the German musician Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755), an extraordinary and noteworthy figure who during his lifetime played many roles in a variety of musical areas: most notably, those of violin virtuoso, composer, concertmaster and copyist or arranger of works by other composers (RISM Catalog | RISM Online).

Earlier studies related to this important musician are to be found mainly in the writings of Hans Rudolf Jung, Karl Heller, Manfred Fechner, Ortrun Landmann, Albrecht Treuheit and Kai Köpp.

Following the first thematic catalogue of Pisendel’s works contained in Jung’s pioneering doctoral dissertation (1956) and the list of Pisendel’s works – this time, without thematic incipits – by Köpp (2005), the need for a truly panoramic view of his music (plus the music by others that he reworked) via a thematic catalogue updated to take account of recent discoveries has become very apparent. The acronym chosen by the three authors for their new catalogue relating to this Saxon violinist-composer is ‘PW’, short for ‘Pisendel’s Works’ (but usefully interpretable in German as ‘Pisendel Werke’). This abbreviation is followed by an arabic numeral (from 1 to 6), which specifies the set of compositions that are grouped within the same genre (or category) or having a uniform instrumental scoring:

  • PW 1 – Chamber music without basso continuo

  • PW 2 – Chamber music with basso continuo

  • PW 3 – Orchestral music without soloists

  • PW 4 – Concertos for solo instrument and orchestra

  • PW 5 – Cadenzas, sketches, etc.

  • PW 6 – Adaptations, addenda, transcriptions, other materials

This catalogue has an open-ended structure designed to facilitate the possible future addition of new compositions discovered to be authentic. In addition, the catalogue provides for two extra categories respectively accommodating lost (albeit documented) compositions and doubtful works:

  • PW Deest

  • PW Anh.

The catalogue is currently being published in the journal ‘Ad Parnassum’ (ISSN 1722-3954): the sections on chamber music (XX/39, 2022, pp. 1-25), orchestral music (XXI/40, 2023, pp. 33-69) and lost compositions and doubtful works (XXI/41, 2023, pp. 1-25) are already available.

Image: Entry for PW 4:a1, Violin Concerto in A minor, from The Thematic Catalogue of the Musical Works of Johann Georg Pisendel (PW). Image courtesy of the author.

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