Bach FAQ 104
To the point: Bach created 1.128 still preserved compositions.
If you are interested in how many works, that is to say, how many compositions Johann Sebastian Bach wrote, then we might check right now, how many works each of these famous classical composers created. For those of you who are in a hurry.
As mentioned above, Johann Sebastian Bach composed 1,128 works. However, the most well-known Bach scientist on Earth believes, that this number actually maybe is just 10 percent of Bach's complete works and preserved. Which would be some11,000 compositions. It's a pity, there will never be a final answer to the question, how many music Bach composed. Today "the Bach world" is already stoked, when one single music piece still adds to the current number. That would then be number 1.129.
How many works did Bach compose? 1128. Here the picture after Haußmann. First, according to BWV, which is the Bach Works Register, it was 1.080. In the years after 1950, some pieces added, and some haven't been created by Johann Sebastian Bach. So, then what's the number, he composed, today? 1,128 as mentioned.
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In 2011 the New York Times (NYT) voted the best among their Top 10 classical composers choice? However, it was not about the number of works. Anyway, no signboard for quality in this discipline. In addition, it must also be noted that the selection of these 10 alone is extremely subjective. There are certainly more people who are missing one or the other composer, than classic enthusiasts, who are just happy with this selection of the 10. Johann Sebastian Bach won by the way. But that is not the answer to the question we want to ask in this section. So, how many works did these 10 famous classical composers compose and handed it down to the posterity? How many compositions did these craftsmen write and left them to posterity? Here you get to the mentioned article "The Greatest".
The great German composer, whom the NYT voted "only" on place 2, composed 650 works in his life. Information that I – as in most cases first read on Wikipedia - wanted to know confirmed. A hearty response from the Beethoven Festival Hall in Bonn came promptly: it's on their website right in the beginning: Ludwig van Beethoven's artistic work embraces more than 650 compositions. They are counted as 138 works with opus numbers (op.) and 205 works without opus number (WoO). Because 138 + 205 does not result in 650, this fact is explained as quick as lightning by the institution mentioned above: there are more works than "just one" hidden behind one opus number. It's that easy. For example, there is opus 18 and it's a total of 18 works. And together are there? 650 music works.
The master, who was born in Bonn, Germany. How many works did he write? Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna at the age of 57.
Of course, this is the best to request an answer in Austria. To satisfy the demand for accuracy on this Johann Sebastian Bach portal. And where in Austria exactly? In Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace. Or in Germany? And who helped with the question "How many compositions did Mozart write?" The "Deutsche Mozart- Gesellschaft", that is the German Mozart Society, was the perfect address. Thank you from here: there are 626 compositions. By the way, Mozart actually wasn't the inventer of the sweets, which carry his name anyway: Mozartkugels.
No, he did not invent the famous Mozartkugeln: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in 1756, 6 years after Bach's death. He died in Vienna at the age of 35. Do you remember: how many works did Mozart compose?
The Franz. The Franz Peter, actually. How many works did he leave to the world? How many compositions did he wrote long after he was born in Vienna? He, too – we have to consider that – wrote everything in a very short lifetime, 32 years. At this age, he died in Vienna, where he was born, too. The Schubert Catalog of Works by Otto Erich Deutsch lists a total of 998 compositions in this short time. A short time period, because he didn't compose as early as age 3, of course. Where does this information come from? From a competent institution, namely the Viennese Library in the town hall. Thanks for that!
Mr. Schubert from Austria. How many works he composed exactly, is what we know meanwhile.
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So, how many did he write, Bach's colleague from France, who was born in St. Germain-en-Laye in 1862, which is, by the way, here, and died 56 years later in Paris? 75 compositions – but compositions of world class. This is confirmed by the author of the website "Die Deutschen Debussy-Seiten" (... sorry in German only). Thank you very much, Jochen Scheytt.
Monsieur Claude Debussy.
If that is not an international flair, because we now have Austrians, French and German composers and finally a Russian top musician, too. So, he is born in Russia, and he later moved to France, to Switzerland and finally to the United States of America.
Igor was born in Russia and he died in New York, USA. So he was – according to Wikipedia – a Russian-French-US-American composer. He was a classical composer of the "New Music" style.
152 works are what Igor composed plus he received the honor to be a doctor by a United States university. I discovered just 45 pieces first and even for that number I had a hard time. Later on, editing this page I happily found Klassika.info. So now, going through the text, again and again, I double checked on their pages and some 100 works "added", as they list all of his works. so instead of 45 works, I counted 152. Thanks, Klassika.info!
Brahms, again a German composer. He was born in 1833 and he died three years before the turn of the century. He left more than 352 works to the music world, his most famous composition was a work with the name "Deutsches Requiem", which is German requiem; he composed it 1870. In a skilled work all compositions and totaled up you get the number above, namely the "more than" 352. Orchestra works (8), concerts (4), chamber music (16 works), piano works (8), smaller classical works (35), piano pieces for four hands (... who has 4 hands?? ... there were 39 such works), chamber works for string players (8), chorus works (at least 6) and piano airs, among them 49 German folk songs (at least 228). Another source – the website Klassika – lists just 122 compositions, the "Johannes Brahms Werke Verzeichnis", which is the "Johannes Brahms Works Register in English. However, there is one more source – on klassika.info as well – which is works organized after McCorkle. And I plan to check on that list and add up the numbers there. Maybe we know ut even more precisely ... after that.
This is Brahms, also a master. Do we still know it? How many works Bach composed? And Beethoven wrote how many compositions? Plus how many works of art left us, Mozart. This solution regarding the next two composers is what you learn below, however, you can guess and estimate already here and now: how many works did Debussy compose? Next: how many compositions did Schubert leave us. And Verdi? Right, Verdi is still coming, too. Back to Bach: 1.128: Beethoven 340, Mozart 626, Debussy 75, Schubert 600.
The first important Italian composer in our dance. Born 1813 in the duchy of Le Roncole, he died in Milan in 1901. He is mainly known for his operas. All in all, Verdi composed 53 works. And am I absolutely sure? Jup, because the website Klassika.info was an amazing source again. A big thank-you to the editors.
Signore Verdi goes with 53 compositions "into the race".
One of the very, very great ones of the guild. For the New York Times, however, he is just No. 9 among 10. Richard Wagner composed a total of 113 pieces. And this information is confirmed by the institution regarding that composer, which is the Richard Wagner Museum in Bayreuth.
Richard Wagner. What a personality. What a music. How many works did he compose? If you don't know it anymore, just scroll back a little.
Well, I would have had another composer to my mind as 10 of the best classical composers ever. Bartók fans would surely have liked to see him placed above. Whatever. What are we interested in? We are interested in how many compositions Bartók wrote. He composed precisely at least 129 pieces. And who helped me to get this number? Again Klassika.info. However ... why at least? Because with a presentation after music categories "Hungarian farmers songs" are listed. Not mentioning the number of those songs. Plus Romanian folk dances. Again without a number. So, an addition of these flat positions creates that "at least" in front of the term. Thank-you for so much effort, editorial department of Klassika.info!
Béla Bartok, he is a Hungarian in the dance of famous classical composers. So, do we still know it? How many works did Béla Bartók compose?
The KlassikAkzente website offers not only a completely different selection of classical composers than the New York Times but is – perfectly created – my recommendation for more information about the composers, which are selected there. It's a pity, however, that the offer is just in German. Just like the decision which composers are selected according to their personal taste, I have made a selection, too which now presents the list of musicians beyond the 10 "candidates" of the NYT. Certainly, you would replace one or the other by the composer of your choice. But I have made a choice that is based on the notoriety. Whether composer 23 is better known as composer 26, is what we could perfectly fight about. But that is what we don't do. Correct?
The Händel-Werke-Verzeichnis (... the Handel Works Register) lists 627 works, of which 612 are in the main part and 15 in the appendix. So far so good. Among them are 42 operas of 3 to 4 hours each, but also pieces of just 12 bars. Some great works exist in different versions: the meaning of these numbers is therefore quite relative. Some argue about works: whether they are actually from Handel. The number of these works is, however, measured by the intensity of the discussions, actually comparatively low. With "some 600 works" you are probably correct if you want to settle an approximate number regarding Handel's masterpieces. Bach composed more than a thousand, but here the proportion of shorter works is higher so that it is also only conditionally comparable.
This is the response of the Foundation Handel House in Halle (Stiftung Händel-Haus Halle) on the Saale and I am so amazed by the exciting information that I got, although I actually just asked for the number of works, that I want to give you the text of the original mail from Halle as a" copy and paste". However, keep in mind, the translation was my fault. I would like to thank the director of the Handel Festival and especially Mrs. Dr. Musketa for this information. Here you get again to this great website of the foundation and here you can find the festival program. I almost forgot, Georg Friedrich Handel was born just 26 days before Johann Sebastian Bach, but he lived some nine years longer and died proud 74 years old. At that time this age was extraordinary.
How many works did Handel compose. Do you still remember?
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A Polish is next. And unfortunately, he presented the world only to an age of 39 years with his works. In 1849 he died in Paris. Max Hoelzl gave the decisive tip: count his works on his website "Frédérik Chopin" and that is to say on the page Werkeverzeichnis, which is works register. There I found his works, counted and the result is exactly 203 works. Thank you Max Hoelzl.
French composer Chopin. Do you still know his first name? And if so, what about the number of his music works? How many music works did Chopin compose?
Antonio Vivaldi composed exactly 816 works composed and how do you know so precisely? In Canada, you are helped and you can check it on the appropriate website. And how do you get there? Just click here.
Signore Vivaldi, with 816 works he is represented in the good midfield. Quantitatively, that goes without saying.
Today Bach fans owe everything to Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Without him, Johann Sebastian Bach might have been completely forgotten. It was he who presented the St. Matthew Passion to an enthusiastic audience for the first time after its premiere. And exactly on the very day precisely 100 years later. Maybe it was even at the same time of the day exactly after 100 years! Because both special days for the Bach music were Good Fridays. The Bach science has, however, just "blew" this so round anniversary a little: a few years ago, compared to the over 300 years so far, they found out that the had "lost" the premiere date of the first performance. And now it's exactly 101 years distance. But again probably to the hour exactly the same day. Too bad, a pity – that was really an exciting number.
By the way: Felix was born in Hamburg in 1809, died at the age of only 38 years in the musical metropolis of Leipzig. That was in 1847. So, how many works did Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy compose? Around 750 compositions. Where do you get such a qualified answer? From the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation in the Mendelssohn House. And there from the museum management: a warm thank you for it. The website: very worth visiting it and exploring it. And one more note: these 750 works are compiled under the name "Mendelssohn's catalog of works MWV" by Ralf Wehner in the publishing house Breitkopf & Härtl.
Bach fans all over the world are thankful to him: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.
Again Klassika.info offers a real bonanza (... however, there is no compact number. But probably I am the only one who wishes such a thing because the musical maturation is still missing ... that was just kidding). In the works register after Humphrey Searle, there are 701 pages in the year 1996 ... which make a total of ... 701 works. We add the not absolutely certain and lost works and he had planned four works more. Thank you, now it's no secret anymore: Klassika.info!
There are really many portraits of Liszt existing. We decided on a very young Liszt painting to have this artwork created. Thank you, Vivian.
In the register of Renate Grasberger, you learn about the 149 composed music works. However meanwhile we fell that much with the information on Klassika.info, that we want to check there, too: so there you read - organized in "disciplines WAB (... like above), music category, date of origin and titles: there are 156 pieces. A little discrepancy, but we should not take it too seriously. Remains a last click to the summary of Mr. Johannes Hanstein. There you find the number of 153 – how diplomatic is that?!
Like there is the BWV for Bach works, three is a WAB for Anton Bruckner works. Renate Grasberger published it in 1977.
Some 250 and he was the "inventor" of the Viennese waltz. The most famous work today is the "Radetzky March". And where did we find that information? It's in good old (?) Wikipedia. This time the difference to what Klassika.info states is huge: there you only find 18 works, but ... the Radetzki March is mentioned.
If you have the same challenge, to recognize which of the two Johann Strausses is the father and which Is the son, try it like I do: Daddy Strauss is the serious guy. Traditional hairdo. Son Strauss looks like a little rebel*. So ... do you now still remember, how many works Strauss, Sr. composed?
* = Not really of course, but if you compare both it's just a cool memory hook.
480 dancing compositions and 17 stage entertainments, 15 of which are operettas. His most beautiful works are "An der schönen blauen Donau" (By The Beautiful Blue Danube), "Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald" (Stories from the Vienna Forrest), "Wiener Blut" (Vienna Blood), "Die Fledermaus" (The Bat) plus of course "Der Zigeunerbaron" (The Gipsy Baron).
There was a time when this outfit was fashion. In Austria.
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Again one of the classical composers, who left us more quality than quantity. I trust Klassika.info again and I add, after the work register of Johannes Hanstein, how helped us with finding numbers out above with a diplomatic numerical value: 263 masterpieces, 263 compositions.
Richard, the third Strauss in our presentation. What a pity, he is not related to the Strausses above. If so, that would put them as a family of composers or a family of musicians way more to the top in our ranking. Just kidding. However, that is definitely not the son or a grandchild of both Straussens above. Nope, it is ... Richard. Exactly.
Stars and Stripes": US-Americans do definitely know this composition, however, all folks who like classical music, know this music work is probably, too. This music piece is almost the National anthem of the USA. Sousa, already at age 13 registered at the army by his father is considered the "King of Military Marches". This time even Klassika cannot help with a works register, however, we discover in the running text: he created 136 works, all of them marches and beyond that more works, for instance, 15 operettas. Sousa considered himself a workaholic and he meant analogously: if you would hear about John Philipp Sousa would be retired, he would probably have died.
Sousa. Better John Philipp Sousa. A really good place to send warmest wishes to all visitors to my website from the United States of America.
If you read in the Haydn works register, the number of compositions by Joseph Haydn is 1,180. If we add all compositions, which are considered as authentic, it is a number of 1,270. And if you take the dances in consideration, which are added up to series, which are indeed series, these are not just 30 series, but 288 single music works, that is to say dances. Now the total number meanwhile is 1,528.
You get this competent answer when you ask directly in Vienna for that information. As quick as lightning comes the answer: precise, reliable, detailed and certainly correct! Thanks to beautiful Austria.
Thanks for your beautiful music, Mr. Haydn.
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How many works did Bernstein compose? Manageable 26, if I didn't do a poor job adding. According to the register at Klassika. However ... you go on researching and so you find on Wikipedia ... the list of compositions by Leonard Bernstein. And there are unbelievable (... compared to the number mentioned above in this paragraph) 107 compositions. The most well-known work maybe? Westside Story!
Hector Berlioz, a Frenchman, a composer and a music critics, too. He was born in 1803 and he died in 1896: they called him the underestimated successor of Beethoven. He left not that many compositions, however, they are really beautiful. You now want to get the number of compositions, so you can hop to the next composer instantly? 57 compositions, is what this master created.
Composer and musician Berlioz, painted by Vivian.
So now, where does our way lead us? Correct, again to Klassika. And there I add up for you: there are 66 works and there is one more unidentified stage entertainment, whatever that means. Thank you for your research, Klassika.
Mister composer Giacomo Puccini. A star composer from beautiful Italy. and the offspring in a family of musicians, which is missing until today on "Bach on Bach". He is not at all yet represented on the page about famous composers and famous families of musicians (... between 2012 and 2017). His father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather were musicians.
When it comes to the number of composition from this composer Bellini, born in Sicily, it's rather manageable. We click to Klassika and count 29 works in a life of 34 years. Good job, Vincenzo.
What about if we stay in "Bella Italia" and learn more about the composer, who shares the room on an Italian stamp with our Johann Sebastian Bach.
So, let's check on the Russian Music Archive. And we add up operas, orchestral works, chamber music, piano pieces, vocal-instrumental works, vocal works, transcriptions, and orchestrations. Plus be take the well-known but disappeared works into account. So it's a total of at least 240 pieces of art.
There are many websites existing about the Russian pianist, composer, and conductor and actually, Wikipedia is leading the pack when you google with the keywords "Werkeverzeichnis" ( ... in English its works register) and "Rachmaninov". However, we visit the German website "Russisches Musik-Archiv", which is "Russian Music Archive". Ha, you would have found out on your own, wouldn't you?!
However, Ravel wasn't just able to create "Bolero". Together it's a total of proud 149 works, which the Frenchman left us until he died at age 62 in Paris. Did you know, that "Bolero" once was created as ballet music? Nope? Why should you anyway?
Who doesn't know it: the masterpiece "Bolero" by Maurice Ravel. Plus: who thinks, he or she doesn't know it, knows it probably anyway. If you belong to the group of humans, then just check, whether you just know it anyway. With a click here.
But Ravel "could not only do Bolero". Together with arrangements, the Frenchman left us 149 works before he died in Paris at the age of 62. Did you know that "Bolero" was originally conceived as ballet music? Nope? Why should you? ✓
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So, was Max Reger, which they connect with the city of Weiden, Germany today, creative himself? You bet. Even very creative. On Klassika and on Wikipedia, right in front and on top respectively you find the collection of master pieces, which Max Reger left us. And these are 474 works. That ... is quite an impressing number!
Max Reger stated one of the coolest quotations about our Johann Sebastian Bach ever and we still have it in his original handwriting today. That is unique, there is no more such quote about JSB existing: "Bach is the beginning and end of all music".
It just had to be here: the quote of Max Reger.
Robert Schumann. You link this composer to the city of Zwickau in Saxony, Germany. In his birth year, Zwickau was still Kingdom of Saxony. Alone in the year, in which he married his wife, the pianist Clara Wieck, he created almost 150 songs. We want to check, what he "tone set" in a lifetime.
Of course, we click to Klassika, because we had been successful so many times. The first impression is, that the register starts with "published works in his lifetime" and we are excited, what the counterpart is: below you learn that there are so-called inherited works, too. We didn't have such before and we start our addition. A whopping 529 werks were composed by the master, however, this number does not harmonize with the last opus number 148. Many an opus numbers contain 3, 5, 7 or even 10 individual works. It's a total of 529 works including these mentioned inherited compositions because they were created by Schumann as well.
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The Nutcracker, who doesn't know this masterpiece? That is certainly his most famous music work, no doubt. However, if we add all compositions, which this expert left us, it's a total number of 333. You, know I love such numbers, like 333 or 555 or 999.
Mr. Tschaikovsky. Peter Iljitsch. Or Pjotrr Iljitsch. He was born in Russia, he died in Russia, what is not that common among our composers ... they loved to travel. And some of them emigrated.
Beyond the common "Ave Maria" from Bach and Gounod this composer, who once didn't want to become a musician at all, created a relatively manageable number of music works. We check at ... now it's getting almost boring ... and we add up: 28 compositions. However we do know as well: it's not about the number, but it's about the quality. In addition the contest, who created the most compositions, just a fiddle-faddle, which I dreamt up.
Mister Gounod. Monsieur Charles Gounod. Frenchman. Music genius.
He was busy, this composer from Northern Germany, who was attracted by the British on the other side of the Channel. He created around 600 works if we add all the versions, and why shouldn't we?!
We connect the city of London with his life as a musician. However, he is born close to Luebeck, Germany. His mommy was an opera singer and his daddy had himself decorated with the title – this little "von". He was a musician, too and he made money with presenting little Carl Maria as a musical child genius. Is that what you do with exceptionally gifted kids? However ... what did Carl Maria von Weber leave to the posterity?
The almost unbelievable: there is no painting in the style of the works above about the master of composition. Why not? Because every project just starts sometime and Mr. Telemann – I have no answer to the question why – I just missed Mr. Telemann. I had never heard from him, never read about him. Plus with a website about Johann Sebastian Bach ... why should I? Of course, when my wife with her publishing house specialized on composers, we could have thought about a portrait of him. But we just haven't. So, no painting of him in the style above came into being, back then and Vivian, who painted all the other works, she paints different themes meanwhile.
At the back of my mind, however, is a statement of a music pedagogue at the Bachhaus in Eisenach, Germany remained present – that happened already a few years ago – when it was about the number of works of composers in general. So, he said that Telemann was one of the really very busy composers. And here we now want to honor him with a well-merited position 1. Telemann, not the music pedagogue in Eisenach, which helped us with his information. Not just this one time, but again and again. A cordial thank-you goes to the Bachhaus.
Now it's almost "buckle up", as we add up and I can already tell you, that the result has little to do with the sum from all the composers above. 1,860 church cantatas alone is what Telemann created and with his "work 37" all involved folks even skipped the counting. It's called "funny mishmash" it's in the TWV, which is the "Telemann Werke Verzeichnis", which is the Telemann Work Register. We start the addition with our Google calculator
3.496 music works!!! That ... is absolutely top and with that result, Telemann handed three times more works down – easily – than Johann Sebastian Bach did. And Bach was a workaholic. Just ... they think, that so many of Bach's compositions are lost. But ... that is just what they are.
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