Joseph Brentner. A Catalogue of His Works (Brk)


The aim of the thematic catalogue of Joseph Brentner’s works is to gather, classify and in a well-organized manner present information on the composer’s oeuvre and its sources. Besides lists of his works included in dictionary entries (entry written by Milan Poštolka in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and by Jaroslav Bužga in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart), this is the first catalogue of the composer’s work ever. Work on the catalogue started as part of the project “Composer and His Work in Baroque Prague: Johann Joseph Ignaz Brentner (1689–1742)” supported by the Czech Science Foundation. Yet it was not until later that the decision was made to process the catalogue by means of the MerMEId editor and publish it online.

The catalogue is conceived as a work in progress, which means it should be expanded continually with the date of the last update mentioned at the end of each entry. The catalogue is part of the project called “Thematic Online Catalogues of Czech Composers” within the Strategy AV21 programme.

Source materials

The sources of Joseph Brentner’s works have survived in a number of archives and libraries mainly in Central Europe, but exceptionally also in music collections on the territory of today’s Bolivia. Compositions published in print as four opuses have been disseminated quite widely, as can be seen from numerous copies as well as period music inventories evidencing sources unknown today. The printed music itself, however, survived only scarcely or just in a very few copies. Several likely autographs of Brentner’s works are found in Prague and Göttweig. Among the manuscript sources there is a prevalence of parts, with a unique example of a period score represented by a copy of the instrumental Pastorella Brk 99. The aforementioned music inventories (related mostly to monastic collections) are another important source. On the basis of inventories and other written sources we may assume that at least one third of Brentner’s compositions have not survived. The present catalogue strives to make evidence of all sources of Brentner’s works. A number of sources are evidenced and described in the RISM database, to which the catalogue also cross-refers.

Organisation of the catalogue

Since it is not possible to establish a chronological order, the works have been listed according to genre. Surviving works are numbered continuously and categorized into sections. Within each category, the works are organized in ascending order according to key, beginning with C (masses, litanies, instrumental compositions) or in alphabetic order according to the sung text. Works that have not survived and compositions whose attribution is uncertain or doubtful are listed in the appendix and numbered Brk Ap. 1 onwards. Each work published within collections has its own catalogue number; collections are numbered separately as Brk Coll. 1 and on. Any works possibly discovered or identified in the future are going to obtain the next number in the sequence. Their inclusion into appropriate categories will easily be done by means of a description in the MerMEId editor.

Masses and Requiem
Brk 1–4
Vesper Psalms and Magnificat
Brk 5–14
Brk 15–24
Choral Offertories and Antiphons
Brk 25–45
Arias and Solo Motets
Brk 46–83
German Motets and Arias
Brk 84–89
Brk 90
Instrumental music
Brk 91–100
Doubtful, spurious and lost works 
Brk Ap. 1–57
Brk Coll. 1–12