Discovering the identity of an unidentified quintet

SCM 432 was a puzzle — no composer or title page, two parts (Ob II and Bsn) of a printed work (PN 1536) with a title “Quintet II” in the key of E♭ major. Using discovery tools and this process….

  • in WorldCat a search in the Publishers Number Index revealed 66 musical works with the publisher’s number “1536”. In the list 2 composers (Mozart and Anton Reicha) appeared with the word “quintet” in the title.
  • in RISM online a search for “Anton Reicha” revealed 85 works. There were 14 published works, which did not include any quintets. There were 30 entries for “quintets (instr).
  • Number 14 in the list of 30 was in E♭ Although we do not have the lead part (flute), the incipts matched up (key, time signature, tempo markings, melodic and rhythmic progression). It was identified as op. 88, no. 2 by Anton Reicha.
  • Further searching in RISM Series AII (paper) revealed a citation for published parts (PN: 1536) by the publisher Simrock.
  • So the unknown quintet is now identified as Anton Reicha’s Quintet for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, op. 88. No. 2, published by Simrock about 1817 or 1818.

[Dave has a recording of this work]