Return to Homepage

On-line Book Review


Dimension: 20.7 x 13.6 x 3.1 cm
TITLE G. S. B A C H: Prontuario delle Bibliografie italiane. ed. Cristina Ferretti Mei and Luca Ferretti. (= Bibliobus (A/1))
PUBL. DETAILS Fano (PU), Via Fragheto, 7. Italy, 358p.  Lit. 75.000.
ISBN n/a
TO ORDER Cristina Ferretti Mei & Luca Ferretti, Via Brigata Sassari, 38 - 61032 Fano (PU), Italy. Email:, www:
DESCRIPTION Bach Bibliography in Italy: catalogues about the books and authors with indices of BWV, ISBN, ISSN and places of publication.
READERSHIP Scholars looking for books written in Italian
RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION Significant contribution to bibliography; it will remain definitive resource for Italian Bach literature for some time, and thus a 'must have' item for major research libraries.

hen talking about the ‘Bach literature’, we have to anticipate that it may be written in any languages, not just German or English, for Bach is a globally popular composer. Yet with certain optimism we tend to ignore anything that are not written in these two languages. Serious scholars think differently, of course: they will search everything as long as they can find it and find means to read it. 

There are many holes in bibliographical research, however: the search is not always easy, especially when dealing with those written in other than the above-mentioned common languages. In Bach Studies, the foundation of bibliographical work was laid by German scholars, the most remarkable example of which is published as a series of articles in Bach-Jahrbuch. (All of these, plus selected others, can be listed from this link.) While they attempted to include the publication from all major European countries, there was limit to what they could achieve.

Catalogo Cronologico
Catalogo Autori
Catalogo Titoli
Catalogo Tipologico
Catalogo BWV
Catalogo ISBN
Catalogo ISSN
Catalogo Topografico
Indice analitico
It will remain definitive resource for Italian 
Bach literature for some time
The book reviewed here fills one important gap: this is the first comprehensive ‘Italian Bach Bibliography’, in which the editors collected 500 references discussing the life and works of J. S. Bach. Its significance can be measured by comparing with c.200 Italian items that my Bach Bibliography currently contains (as I counted earlier this year).

While I intend to incorporate the information herein in the near future, this book will remain the definitive reference for anyone who wish to make good use of the data, for it describes the bibliographical information more comprehensively than many similar bibliographical catalogues [incl. my Bach Bibliography]—e.g. the table of contents (if it is a book or articles with distinctive sections); name and address of publisher as well as type-setter; and most conveniently, where in Italy you can find the items. The editors' helpful notes are also added from time to time.

The book takes the form of a bibliographic ‘card-index’ of 500 books, articles, preface and commentary of editions, all chronologically organized from 1900 to 1999, which is unusually informative. It is followed by the indices of authors, titles (+separate ‘series’ titles), BWV, ISBN, ISSN, their shelfmark in Italian libraries and keywords. 

While I am impressed by both its scope of data and features, there are some scope for future improvements. One of the most important would be its BWV index, which is currently limited to about forty post-1987 publications. The keyword search is another, which will benefit from significant performance enhancement if and when the entire database is made available on-line. It may be mentioned that the editors intend to make available both addenda and corrigenda on the internet (
Published on-line on 18 November 2001

Return to the previous page