Book ReviewsNo. 37-38, Spring-Fall 1984

Review of Thomas Emmerig. 1984. Joseph Riepel, 1709-1782, Hofkapellmeister des Fürsten von Thurn und Taxis : Biographie, thematisches Werkverzeichnis, Schriftenverzeichnis. Kallmünz : M. Lassleben

Abstract

Thomas Emmerig’s Joseph Riepel (1709-1782): Hifkapellmeister des Fürsten von Thurn und Taxis, volume 14 in the Thurn- und Taxis-Studien, is a welcome work which should be of central significance in the recent revival of interest in the life and work of Joseph Riepel. This relatively small volume (177 pages, including indices) contains a biography and catalog of Riepel’s theoretical writings as well as a complete and thoroughly annotated thematic catalog of his compositions. Emmerig’s biography of Riepel draws heavily upon Riepel’s own writings. The design of Emmerig’s book is clear; its contents readily accessible. Following a brief foreword, Emmerig presents an exhaustive bibliography in three segments: unpublished sources, literature specifically about Riepel, and other related articles and books. Next comes a thorough biography in which Emmerig quotes extensively from Riepel’s own writings. Following this is the thematic catalog itself, in which the works are grouped according to genre. Persons, places, and titles of works and texts are then indexed, and the work concludes with twenty-five photographs of significant persons and places in Riepel’s life as well as facsimiles of title pages from some of his compositions and theoretical works. Because in the majority of his works Riepel writes in a colloquial style, presenting a dialogue between student and teacher, Emmerig has been able to glean a great deal of information about the details of Riepel’s life, much of which cannot be found in other existing primary sources.