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View Full Version : Wrong Opus #'s!


euphony131
12-18-2000, 11:52 PM
Ok, let see...the last five string quartets are all apparently numbered out of sequence. And so are a bunch of other works, which (I may be wrong) includes Opus 125, 9th Symphony. Here's the thing -- why has no one ever bothered to renumber all the Maestro's works in chronological order given today's erudite scholarship? You can have the old # in parentheses ( ) with the ACTUAL # beside it. It'd be really nice to know what REALLY came first or after something else. What do you all think?

Serge
12-19-2000, 02:26 AM
A worthy idea. Of course, the opus numbering was at the discretion of Ludwig's publishers, and some pieces that were published many years 'late' give the wrong impression about what he actually composed late in life; for ex., op. 129, rondo capriccioso, that was actually written before 1800, or op. 138--the last opus #-- which was one of the Leonore overtures. So we know what was published when, but not what was composed when (unless we dig deeper).

I'm all for a revision, but that would be such a change to convention. Purists may cringe at the idea of bypassing the current, accepted system to favor a new one.

One thing that's good about the current system is that no matter what happens, it remains constant. If a new B. piece is found, or another one proven to be someone else's work, then you don't need to update the list.

Peter
12-19-2000, 04:57 AM
I think it would help if the Piano concertos were numbered correctly - I see no reason today to go on calling no.2 no.1 and vice versa - when it comes to opus numbers I think you'd cause far too much confusion - Beethoven and Mozart are the two main composers whose works are often directly referred to by catalogue numbers and to change them around would be a nightmare!

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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 12-18-2000).]

Rod
12-19-2000, 06:17 AM
Originally posted by Serge:
A worthy idea. Of course, the opus numbering was at the discretion of Ludwig's publishers, and some pieces that were published many years 'late' give the wrong impression about what he actually composed late in life; for ex., op. 129, rondo capriccioso, that was actually written before 1800, or op. 138--the last opus #-- which was one of the Leonore overtures. So we know what was published when, but not what was composed when (unless we dig deeper).


I think the publishers can be forgiven with the Rondo, for although it is clearly an early work (a point enhanced by the fact that it requires only a 5 octave keyboard), it was only published, and indeed completed (as far as I am aware), after his death by Diabelli, thus any earlier numbers would have been used already. The same goes for the overture (as an aside, no1 was actually the last of the 3 to be written).

The main point of concern during B's lifetime was when they would publish minor works with opus numbers without his consent (it would be more usual for B himself to state if a work was to have a number, hence the large number of published works without opus numbers (WoO)). I would be surprised if the song Merkenstein, a simple song with barely a page of music, had its opus (op100) assigned by B himself.

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 12-19-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 12-19-2000).]

Chris
12-19-2000, 10:10 AM
Nah, leave 'em. I can't deal with a change that big in my life http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/wink.gif

Michael
12-19-2000, 04:22 PM
Worst of all are the three or four opus numbers that were not written by Beethoven, but are unauthorised arrangements of his works.
A handy way for remembering the correct order of the last five quartets is: First, the E flat and last, the F major - and in the middle you have the ABC quartets - A minor, B flat and C sharp minor.

Michael

Peter
12-20-2000, 04:39 AM
Originally posted by Michael:
A handy way for remembering the correct order of the last five quartets is: First, the E flat and last, the F major - and in the middle you have the ABC quartets - A minor, B flat and C sharp minor.

Michael

That's useful Michael - If he'd written a 6th quartet it would have had to have been in D to complete the series !
Interesting actually that quartets very often were written in sets of 6 (not quite sure why!).

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'Man know thyself'