Very much one of the unsung stars of the courts of Ferdinand III and Leopold I of Austria, the Veronese composer Antonio Bertali has gradually attracted more and more attention as interest in period instruments and performance style has increased, particularly his extraordinarily wide output of instrumental music. I am more interested in his sacred vocal output, much of which has survived in the magnificent Kromeriz archive, both in autograph and in copies by his Bohemian contemporary, Pavel Vejvanovksy.

My purpose here, as elsewhere on the site, is not to present the known information - anyone can glean the basics of Bertali's career from entries in Grove and MGG. My interest is getting the music more widely known, not only through publishing and performing, but by listing all the surviving sources and providing any other biographical information that I come across (both through inspecting the manuscripts and in the more obscure literature).

The most important primary document for Bertali's output (as it is for Schmelzer) is a handwritten Viennese catalogue known as
Distinta Specificatione. This amazing list divides composers at the Habsburg court in Vienna's output into categories, then gives details of each piece. I'm going to use that as the basis for my online catalogue.

PLEASE NOTE: More than half of Bertali's output is lost, and only those pieces whose entries in this list refer to source material are known to have survived.

The DS (as we'll call it) lists the following categories (the letters are my addition):

A Introiti p[er] tutto l'anno

B Messe sollenni con trombe
C Messe sollenni senza trombe
D Messe mezzane pero sollenni
E Messe ordinario concertante

F Sonate con trombe sollenni
G Sonate ordinario chiesa

I Mottetti de Apostoli, et Martyribus

J Salmi sollenni, et ordinarii
K Salmi extra ordinarii

L Magnificat sollenni, et altri
M Vespero intiero de Apostolis
N Antiphone
O Litanie sollenni
P Lytanie ordinarie
Q Sub tuum praesidium con trombe
R Sub tuum praesidium ordinarii
S Sonate a 3
T Sonate camera
U Miserere
V Stabat mater
W Messe da morti
X Lectiones et responsoria
Y Te Deum laudamus

Z Compositioni morali, et spirituali per camera
AA Compositioni proprie
BB Compositioni amorose

Over the coming months Prima la musica! will be adding pieces by Bertali to their catalogue, including sonatas, motets and masses. If you see a reference to a surviving source in this list, and you are interested in the piece, e-mail Brian and ask him if an edition is forthcoming.

Recommended recordings

Sonate Festive
Musica Fiata, dir. Roland Wilson
cpo 999 545-2