Catalogus novus Wanhali – About

Johann Baptist Waṅhal (1739–1813) was long virtually lost to obscurity but has in recent decades come to be recognized as the most important non-canonized composer working in Vienna in the era of Haydn and Mozart. Despite this, his works have never been properly catalogued in their entirety. The symphonies were always the special domain of Paul Bryan, whose 1997 landmark study Johann Waṅhal, Viennese Symphonist – His Life and His Musical Environment remains a thoroughly satisfactory treatment of its subject. Alexander Weinmann was working on a catalogue of Waṅhal’s other works concurrently with Bryan, but an attempt to unify the two at the suggestion of Barry S. Brook was left unfulfilled by Weinmann’s death in 1987. His study was released in 1987 as Themen-Verzeichnis der Kompositionen von Johann Baptiste Wanhal. Paul Bryan has summarized the state of this catalogue as follows:

His catalog … was an enormous achievement, and it must be recognized as a basic tool for researchers who are confronted with questions about any of Waṅhal’s compositions other than the symphonies – especially in view of Weinmann’s observations about Waṅhal’s life and about contemporary publishers it also contains. It is organized by genre, and its contents were mostly derived from the huge amount of printed material which [Weinmann] examined as he prepared and published fifty-odd catalogs of the works of Viennese publishers and composers. There are, unfortunately, two problems that would have to be addressed before the catalog could fulfil its necessary function: (1) it largely ignores the manuscript material with all of its implications for authenticity and dating, such as sources, copyists and paper studies; and (2) due to the state of his health during the months preceding his death, Weinmann was unable to edit the catalog, which, furthermore, was issued in very poor binding. In its present condition it may therefore be judged unsatisfactory. (Bryan, 1997: 537)

Perhaps the biggest flaw of the work is that Weinmann, whose work was conducted entirely during the Cold War, did not have access to the music archives of Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia, but had to be sent information about sources in these areas. This most likely took the form of copies of library index cards. Whereas this was not really a problem for printed music, it presented a significant challenge in the field of sacred music, which primarily remained transmitted in manuscript copies well into the ninetieth century. In many cases, these cards would represent Weinmann’s only knowledge of a work, which is shown by the number of double entries of the same work in cases where incipits were taken from different parts (soprano, first violin or continuo). However, it is also obvious that he did not use the full knowledge available at the time, as the MGG article of Milan Poštolka (1966) contained references to a number of manuscripts that were not mentioned by Weinmann. What is more, he also made no attempt to provide information about different

Allan Badley first announced the beginning of the work on a new catalogue in 2012. Since then, it has been decided that the task of finishing the catalogue would be too large for one person or even a group of scholars to reasonably be able to finish within the current scholarly climate. Instead, it was decided that the catalogue was to be a collaborative effort published online. The first task of the catalogue is to provide an overview of Waṅhal’s works and of the extant sources, which will then be used by local scholars to provide greater detail about manuscripts and their local context. In this way the catalogue will hopefully come to encompass more information about the surviving source material than has been possible to acquire for a single scholar or to present in a conventional paper catalogue.

The Catalogus novus Wanhali is maintained as a cooperative project between the research group ‘Intrada’ of the University of Auckland and the research group ‘The Classical Ages’ at the University of Trondheim (NTNU). It is maintained and edited by Halvor K. Hosar. Please contact us if you might be interested in contributing to the project.

Bibliography

Badley, Allan (2012): ‘ALLAN BADLEY writes:’, Eighteenth-Century Music, 9/1, 157-8

Bryan, Paul R. (1997): Johann Waṅhal, Viennese Symphonist – His Life and His Musical Environment, Pendragon Press

Milan Poštolka (1966): ‘Vaňhal, Jan Křtitel’, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, edited by Friedrich Blume, Bärenreiter, volume 13, columns 1257-63

Weinmann, Alexander (1987): Themen-Verzeichnis der Kompositionen von Johann Baptiste Wanhal, Ludwig Krenn Verlag