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Composer Data

Abbreviations Used in Composer Works Lists & Thematic Catalogs

Opus Numbers

Opus (Latin for "work", plural is "opera") is a term used to denote a piece or set of pieces. Usually, but certainly not always, the opus number indicates the chronological order of composition or publication. Beginning in the early 17th century, as composers began to publish sets of madrigals, instrumental sonatas, or other works printed, the publishers would often assign numbers to these sets so that they could be differentiated. The earliest application I'm aware of is the assignment of "Op. 1" to Heinrich Schütz's first set of 19 madrigals published in 1611, but there are almost certainly earlier instances.

Relying on opus numbers can be a problem for some composers. This is especially true for early composers (before the 1800s), and for composers who have not published many works. Let me give you some examples. In the 17th century, composers often went to different publishers in each country. These publishers might all assign different opus numbers to the same set of sonatas or concertos.

Some of Mozart's works were published, and thus bear opus numbers. One example is the three piano concertos #11-13, K. 413-415, composed in 1783 and published in Vienna as Op. 4. The sales of this set were successful enough for him to get his piano concerto #5, K. 175, composed in 1773, published the same year as Op. 7! Mozart's publications were rather spotty, so no one uses the opus numbers (see the next section).

A somewhat different situation exists with the composer Luigi Boccherini. Boccherini was a prolific and successful composer with many publications. Therefore most of his works carry a publisher's opus number, though these numbers may not reflect the actual composition order or chronology. However, Boccherini did keep his own chronological list of compositions to which he assigned his own opus numbers. Therefore, many of Boccherini's works carry two opus numbers. An example is his string quintet in C minor, G. 328, composed in 1780, was assigned Op. 31 #4 by Boccherini, but when it was published in 1813 it was assigned Op. 47 #10 by the publisher.

Works Lists & Thematic Catalogs

Over the past two centuries, scholarship into the works of specific composers has become more and more important as the historical significance of individual composers is studied and analyzed. Inevitably, as a scholar studies the output of a composer, a thorough and comprehensive works catalog becomes extremely useful. As these catalogs are compiled and included with biographical studies or used as a basis for the publication of critical editions of the scores, the numbering scheme used by the scholar occasionally comes into common usage. But why should these systematic numberings be necessary? As discussed above, opus numbers, though useful in some instances, are not always reliable or even meaningful, if they exist at all.

These works lists, or thematic catalogs, are somewhat familiar to even the most inexperienced classical music lover. Anyone who has seen a "BWV" number associated with a work by Bach, or a "K" number associated with a piece by Mozart has encountered one of these numbering systems. They are handy because they allow people to discuss these works using a shorthand method of reference. For instance, Bach wrote several preludes & fugues in C Major. There are no opus numbers for these pieces as Bach published few of his works. However, if someone mentions the prelude and fugue BWV 545, there is no ambiguity.

Another case is that of Boccherini mentioned in the preceding section. Using an opus number to refer to a given work by Boccherini is problematic at best. Therefore, the thematic catalog of Boccherini's works compiled by Yves Gérard and published in 1969 is often used in both scholarly works, and referenced in sound recordings. For the CD or record collector who endeavors to keep track of the works included in a growing collection, these works lists can provide an invaluable way of tracking specific compositions.

Abbreviations

The following table briefly explains the abbreviations used on sound recordings to identify specific works. Sometimes the abbreviation reflects the name of the author; sometimes the name of the publication in which the works list appears. There are many more thematic catalogs than are represented here. The purpose of this list is not to show every thematic catalog, but rather to provide a quick reference to some of the most often used numbering systems. Additions or corrections are welcome.

ACatalog of the works of František Xaver Dušek (Dussek) by Vladimír Altner
ADescriptive Catalog of the works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes that do not have an opus number by Donna K. Anderson
AThematic Catalog of the works of Richard Strauss by Erich Hermann Mueller von Asow (see AV)
AlThematic Catalogue of the works of Jacques Offenbach by Antonio de Almeida
AV"Allroggen Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of E.T.A. Hoffman by Gerhard Allroggen
AV"Asow Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Richard Strauss by Mueller von Asow
AWV"Auber-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Daniel François Esprit Auber by Herbert Schneider
BChronological Index of the works of Frédéric Chopin by Maurice J.E. Brown
BCatalog of the works of Antonín Dvořák by Jarmil Burghauser
BCatalog of the works of Philipp Heinrich Erlebach by Bernd Bäselt
BCatalog of the works of Leopold Hofmann by Allan Badley
BCatalog of the works of Joseph Martin Kraus by Bertil Herman van Boer, Jr. (see VB)
BCatalog of the works of Karl von Ordonez (Carlos d'Ordonez) by A. Peter Brown
BCatalog of the flute concertos of Johann Joachim Quantz Meike ten Brink
BCatalog of the violin sonatas of Giuseppe Tartini by Paul Brainard
BCatalog of the symphonies of Johann Baptist Vanhal by Paul R. Bryan
B or BenCatalog of the works of Ignaz Joseph Pleyel by Rita Benton
BBCatalog of the works of Béla Bartók by László Somfai
BeRICatalog of the works of Johann Helmich Roman by Ingmar Bengtsson
BICatalog of the works of Frédéric François Chopin by Maurice J.E. Brown
BLCatalog of the works of Alessandro Rolla
BRCatalog of the works of the Bach Family part of the Bach-Repertorium at the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig
BruWV"Brunetti-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Gaetano Brunetti by Olaf Krone
BuxWV"Buxtehude-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Dietrich Buxtehude by Georg Karstadt
BVNCatalog of the works of Rued Langgaard by Bendt Viinholt Nielsen
BWV"Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach by Wolfgang Schmieder (sometimes designated by "S.") in Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der Musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach
CCatalog of the works of Johann Christian Bach
CCatalog of the works of Franz Ignaz Beck by Anneliese Callen
CCatalog of the works of Jan Ladislav Dussek by Howard A. Craw
CCatalog of the works of Giovanni Gabrieli by Richard Charteris
CSCantiones sacrae - Collection of sacred songs by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd (1575)
DCatalog of the works of Franz Schubert by Otto Erich Deutsch
DCatalog of the violin concertos of Giuseppe Tartini by Minos Dounias
DDCatalog of the works of Béla Bartók by Denijs Dille
deestDerived from the Latin "deesse" meaning to be absent. May follow the catalog abbreviation to designate a work which does not appear in that particular catalog (ex. K. deest). Plural is "desunt"
DFCatalog of the works of Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse by Dan Fog
DLR"de Larrocha-Riva" Catalog of the piano works of Enrique Granados by Douglas Riva & Alicia de Larrocha
ECatalog of the works of Philipp Heinrich Erlebach by Diane Parr Walker & Paul Walker
ECatalog of the symphonies of Leopold Mozart by Cliff Eisen
E or EvaMThematic Catalogue of his Instrumental and Orchestral Works of Josef Mysliveček by Angela Evans & Robert Dearling
EG"Grieg-Gesamt-Ausgabe" Catalog of the works of Edvard Grieg published by the Edvard Grieg Committee, based on the catalogs of Dan Fog, Finn Benestad & Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe
FCatalog of the works of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach by Martin Falck in Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: sein Leben und seine Werke (Kahnt 1919)
FCatalog of the trumpet works of Giuseppe Torelli by Martin Falck
FCatalog of the works of Antonio Vivaldi by Antonio Fanna
FCatalog of the works of Josef Myslivecek by Antonio Fanna
FPCatalog of the works of Francis Poulenc by Carl B. Schmidt in The Music of Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): A Catalogue
FSCatalog of the works of Carl Nielsen by Dan Fog & Torben Schousboe
FVBFitzwilliam Virginal Book (c. 1562-1612) - Contains music by William Byrd, Giles Farnaby, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, Peter Philips, William Inglott, Martin Peerson, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, and others edited by W. Barclay Squire & J.A. Fuller Maitland
FVKCatalog of the wind music of Franz Vincenz Krommer (František Vincenc Kramář) without opus number as listed in The Wind Ensemble Catalog by Jon A. Gillaspie, Marshall Stoneham & David Lindsey Clark
FWV"Fasch-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Johann Friedrich Fasch by Rüdiger Pfeiffer
FWV"Franck-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of César Franck by Wilhelm Mohr
GCatalog of the works of Luigi Boccherini by Yves Gérard
GCatalog of the works of Giuseppe Torelli by Franz Giegling
GCatalog of the violin concertos of Giovanni Battista Viotti by Remo Giazotto
GiaCatalog of the works of Tomaso Albinoni by Remo Giazotto
GPCatalog of the works of Arnold Bax by Graham Parlett
GWV"Graupner-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Christoph Graupner by Oswald Bill & Christoph Grosspietsch
GraunWV"Verzeichnis der Werke der Brüder Johann Gottlieb und Carl Heinrich Graun" Catalog of the works of Johann Gottlieb Graun and Carl Heinrich Graun by Christopher Henzel
HCatalog of the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach by Eugene Helm
H"Verzeichnis der nicht in der Gesamtausgabe veröffentlichte Werke Ludwig van Beethovens" - Catalog of the unpublished works of Ludwig van Beethoven by Willy Hess (New Hess Catalog of Beethoven's Works by Green), compiled at the same time, but independently from, George Kinsky and Hans Halm (Das Werk Beethovens: thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis seiner samtlichen vollendeten Kompositionen, Henle 1955). Used for works that Kinsky & Halm did not catalog.
HCatalogue of the works of Hector Berlioz by D. Kern Holoman in Berlioz published by Harvard University Press
HThematic Catalog of the works of Frank Bridge by Paul Hindmarsh
HCatalog of the works of Marc-Antoine Charpentier by Hugh Wiley Hitchcock in his Les Oeuvres de Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Catalogue Raisonné (1982)
HCatalog of the works of John Field by Cecil Hopkinson
HCatalog of the works of Gustav Holst by Imogene Holst, daughter of composer
HCatalog of the works of Bohuslav Martinů by Harry Halbreich
HChronological catalog of the works of Leo Sowerby by Ronald M. Huntington
HobCatalog of the works of Franz Joseph Haydn by Anthony van Hoboken
HV"Herrman-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler by Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider
HWCatalog of the works of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach by Hanssdieter Wohlforth
HWV"Handel-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of George Frideric Handel by Bernd Bäselt
Hwv"Heinichen-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the instrumental works of Johann David Heinichen by Günther Hausswald
JCatalog of the works of Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky by Boris Jurgenson
JCatalog of the works of Carl Maria von Weber by Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns
JSkat"Tematický katalog skladeb" Thematic Catalog of the works of Josef Suk by Zdeněk Nouza and Miroslav Nový
JCCatalog of the works of Giovanni Battista Sammartini by Newell Jenkins & Bathia Churgin
JWCatalog of the works of Leoš Janáček by Nigel Simeone, John Tyrrell and Alena Nemcová (Janáček's Works: a Catalogue of the Music and Writings of Leoš Janáček, Oxford)
KCatalog of the sacred works of Gilles Binchois by Philip Kaye (The Sacred Music of Gilles Binchois, Oxford)
K or KkCatalog of the keyboard works of Domenico Scarlatti by Ralph Kirkpatrick
K or KlCatalog of the works of Oswald von Wolkenstein by Karl Kurt Klein
K or KrCatalog of the works of Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf by Carl Krebs Kremsmünster
K or KV"Köchel-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Wolfgang Mozart by Ludwig Ritter von Köchel
KCatalog of the works of Antonio Rosetti by Oskar Kaul
KnCatalog of the works of Carl Friedrich Abel by Walter Knape
KWV"Kreutzer-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Conradin Kreutzer
LCatalog of the works of George Whitefield Chadwick by Steven Ledbetter
LCatalog of the works of Claude Debussy by François Lesuré
LCatalog of the works of Franz Liszt by Peter Raabe
LCatalog of the keyboard works of Domenico Scarlatti by Alessandro Longo
LWV"Lully-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Jean-Baptiste Lully by Max Schneider
MCatalog of the works of Ignaz von Beeke by F. Munter
MCatalog of the works of César Franck by Wilhelm Mohr
MCatalog of the works of Johann Gottlieb Graun and Carl Heinrich Graun by Carl Heinrich Mennicke
MCatalog of the works of Johann Adolph Hasse by Carl Heinrich Mennicke
M"Meta" Catalog of the works of Vagn Holmboe by Paul Rapoport
MCatalog of the works of Antonio Rosetti by Sterling E. Murray (Also see RWV)
MCatalog of the sonatas of Padre Antonio Soler by Frederick Marvin not cataloged by Rubio below (SR)
MCatalog of the works of Antonio Vivaldi by Gian Francesco Malipiero (same as R below)
MHCatalog of the works of Johann Michael Haydn by Charles H. Sherman and T. Donley Thomas in Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806): a Chronological Thematic Catalogue of his Works (also see ST)
MSCatalog of the works of Johann Melchior Molter by Klaus Hafner
MWV"Molter-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Johann Melchior Molter by Klaus Hafner
NVCatalog of the works of Sigismund Neukomm by Rudolph Angmüller in Werkverzisnis, Autobiographie, Beziehung zu seinen Zeitgenossen
OpOpus number, generally a chronological publication or composition number that may have been assigned by either the publisher or composer
PCatalog of the works of John Dowland by Diana Poulton
PCatalog of the works of Johann Michael Haydn by Lothar Herbert Perger in Thematisches Verzeichnis der Instrumentalwerke von M. Haydn
PCatalog of the works of Leopold Jan Antonín Kozeluh by Milan Poštolka
P or PadK"Thematischer Katalog seiner musikalischen Werke" Catalog of the works of Franz Krommer (František Vincenc Kramár) by Karel Padrta
PCatalog of the works of Ottorino Respighi by Potito Pedarra
PCatalog of the works of Antonio Vivaldi by Mark Pincherle
QV"Quantz-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Johann Joachim Quantz by Horst Augsbach
RCatalog of the works of Adelbert Gyrowetz by John A. Rice
RCatalog of the works of Gottlieb Muffat by Bartholomäus Riedl
RCatalog of the works of Antonio Vivaldi by Gian Francesco Malipiero as published by Ricordi
ROCatalog of the works of Louis Moreau Gottschalk by Robert Offergeld
RV"Ryom-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Antonio Vivaldi by Peter Ryom
RWV"Rosetti-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Antonio Rosetti by Sterling E. Murray (also see M.)
SCatalog of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach by Wolfgang Schmieder (see BWV above)
SCatalog of the works of Johann David Heinichen by Gustav Siebel
SCatalog of the unpublished works of Johann Nepomuk Hummel by Joel Sachs
SCatalog of the works of Franz Liszt by Humphrey Searle
SCatalog of the works of Leopold Sylvius Weiss by Douglas Alton Smith
ŠCatalog of the keyboard music of Josef Antonín Stepan by Setkove
SafCatalog of the works of Bohuslav Martinů by Milos Safranek
SC or S-CCatalog of the works of Leopold Sylvius Weiss by Douglas Alton Smith & Tim Crawford
ScharWVCatalog of the works of Franz Xaver Scharwenka by Matthias Schneider-Dominco
SmWVDas Musikalische Werk Franz Xaver Süssmayrs: Thematisches Werkverzeichnis Catalog of the works of Franz Xaver Süssmayr by Erich Duda
SomCatalog of the works of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger by Laszlo Somfai
SRCatalog of the works of Padre Antonio Soler by Padre Samuel Rubio in "Catálogo Crítico"
ST"Johann Michael Haydn (1737–1806): a Chronological Thematic Catalogue of his Works" by Charles H. Sherman and T. Donley Thomas (also see MH)
SWV"Schütz-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Heinrich Schütz by Werner Bittinger
SzCatalog of the works of Béla Bartók by András Szőllősy
TCatalog of the works of Jean Sibelius by Ernst Tanzberger
TerryCatalog of the works of Johann Christian Bach by Charles Sanford Terry
TFV or TrV"Richard-Strauss-Werkverzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Richard Strauss by Franz Trenner
TTK"Tietz Tematiceskogo Kataloga" Catalog of the works of Anton Ferdinand Tietz by Natal'ja Valer'evna Gubkina
TWV"Telemann-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Georg Phillip Telemann by Werner Menke & Martin Ruhnke
VB"Systematisch-thematisches Werkverzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Johann Kraus by Bertil Herman van Boer, Jr
VB"Valentini Bakfark Opera Omnia" Catalog of the works of Bálint Bakfark by Istvan Homolya and Daniel Benkö
WCatalog of the concertos of Johann Gottlieb Graun by Monika Willer in Die Konzertform der Brüder Carl Heinrich und Johann Gottlieb Graun (1995)
WCatalog of the works of Heitor Villa-Lôbos
WCatalog of the works of Johann Baptist Vanhal by Alexander Weinmann
WendtIncipit Catalog of the trios of Johann Gottlieb Graun and Carl Heinrich Graun by Matthais Wendt in Die Trios der Brüder Carl Heinrich und Johann Gottlieb Graun (1983)
WKO"Bibliographisch-thematisches Verzeichnis der Kompositionen" Catalog of the works of Carl Friedrich Abel by Walter Knape
WoO"Werk ohne Opuszahl" or "Work without opus number", typically unpublished works or works that were not assigned an opus number by the composer
WqCatalog of the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach by Alfred Wotquenne in Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
WqCatalog of the works of Christoph Willibald Gluck by Alfred Wotquenne in Catalogue Thématique des Œuvres de Chr. W. v. Gluck (1904)
WV"Wagenseil-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the orchestral works of Georg Christoph Wagenseil by Helga Schölz-Michelitsch
WVCatalog of the works of Heinrich Scheidemann by Werner Breig
WWV"Wagner-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Richard Wagner by John Deathridge, Martin Geck & Egon Voss
ZCatalog of the works of Luigi Boccherini by Benno Ziegler
ZCatalog of the works of Vaclav Pichl by Anita Zakin
ZCatalog of the works of Henry Purcell by Franklin J. Zimmerman
Trumpet