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Music: Collected Editions

A guide to identifying and locating music works published in collections owned at the SJSU Library

About thematic catalogs

Another way to identify what volume of the collected works contains a particular work is to use the thematic catalog for the composer. These catalogs attempt to list and describe all of a composer’s works and will often include information on their composition, performance, and publication histories. If a collected works edition exists for that composer, many thematic catalogs will cite the volume of the collected works in which a particular work appears. However, some thematic catalogs were published before a collected edition was available so this information will be lacking.

Thematic catalogs are usually organized in chronological order by the opus numbers assigned by the composer (e.g. Beethoven), or by genres (e.g. Haydn). In the cases when the composer didn’t use opus numbers, or they are unreliable or incomplete, another system is used. Many use the first initial of the editor’s last name to create a thematic index number (e.g. Köchel for Mozart, as in K. 466) or the title of the catalog (e.g. BWV for Bach Werk Verzeichnis).

Most of the library’s thematic catalogs for composer are located in the circulating book collections on the 5th floor, although some might be in the reference collection on the 2nd floor. You can retrieve a list of these owned by the library by entering the phrase “thematic catalogs” as a subject search in the online catalog. You will also find citations for thematic catalogs near the top of the composer’s work list section of Oxford Music Online. For example, this is the Oxford Music Online citation for a thematic catalog of works by Berlioz:

Catalogue:

Catalogue of the works of Hector Berlioz, ed. D.K. Holoman (Kassel, 1987) [H]