Suggestion concerning Composer Names

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Suggestion concerning Composer Names

Postby Davydov » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:30 pm

There has recently been some debate concerning the appropriate forms of the names of some composers, such as Haydn and Satie. I'd like to suggest that we try to follow the authorized headings given in the on-line Library of Congress authorities catalog?:

http://authorities.loc.gov/

Their standaridsed names are used by libraries throughout the world, not just in the United States, and a great deal of background work goes into coming up with the most appropriate versions. For example, in the above cases they've settled on "Joseph Haydn" and "Erik Satie".

We're lucky that in the vast majority of cases the version of the name used on IMSLP matches that in the LoC Authorities. But in the case of disputes, we could use the LoC to settle the debate, with any renaming having to be agreed and carried out by the administrators. What do you think?
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Postby Carolus » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:23 pm

I agree with this and propose IMSLP's style should follow LoC's name authority unless there is some compelling reason to make an exception.
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Postby pml » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:58 am

I certainly recommend that IMSLP should not attempt to be an encyclopedia such as Grove or MGG, which will normally cite multiple versions of a composer's name if there are national or baptismal variations. I've already effected one or two name changes here, in the case of the well-known H. Berlioz and the less-common H. Biber.

I am not such a believer in the LoC being the best available authority, although I won't disagree too loudly with adopting it: we should definitely adopt some standard. I'm not a fan of adopting it uncritically, however, since there are some well-known anomalies, which go under the catch-all phrase "exceptions to the rule".

Three exempli, gratiae:

Biber, Heinrich (See: Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz, 1644-1704)

Biber's case is unusual: he himself adopted the formal names of Ignaz and Franz later in life as a Catholic piety, and there seems little evidence he insisted on being called "Heinrich Ignaz Franz" colloquially, rather than "Heinrich". His surname is occasionally given as Biber, or von Biber, or even Biber von Bibern, because of which, whomever first added him to IMSLP decided to use the appalling form: Biber (von), Heinrich Ignaz Franz... which was subsequently changed to Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von.

Haydn, Josef (See: Haydn, Joseph, 1732-1809)

Is the anglicised form Joseph really necessary? Josef is fairly commonly accepted as an alternate spelling. Haydn, Franz Josef I would regard as unnecessary in the same way as Schubert, Franz Peter is (even though there is a Schubert, Franz (Dresden) to worry about as well).

Lassus, Orlande (See: Lasso, Orlando di, 1532-1594)

This one is quite odd, since Lassus was known by a very large number of names by virtue of his works being published all over Europe, but the Italian one seems to have popularly stuck, probably in the 19th Century. Lassus was of course Flemish and lived most of his life in Bavaria, neither of which would suggest why the Italianate rendering of his name should be awarded special precedence.

Please note that I'm not going to be upset if Haydn retains his "ph" or Lassus remains as "Lasso", but that there are often good reasons for "following the path of least resistance" is just as true as there being occasions when the trend should be bucked.

Here's my shortlist of ones which really should be changed (most might be described as "common sense", though that commodity is often in short supply):

Dvořák, Antonín
Nielsen, Carl
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da
Parry, Hubert
Satie, Erik – moved
Nietzsche, Friedrich
Wagner, Richard

and this one deserves to be:

Psimicakis-Chalcocondylis, Nicolaos-Laonicos

:P
Last edited by pml on Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Davydov » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:20 am

Hello Philip. I wouldn't want to give the impression that I'm entirely uncritical of the LoC authorities (I still flinch at "Rachmaninoff", for example), and for practicality's sake we should probably continue to omit diacritics on transliterated names such as "Nikolaï". But as almost all English-language libraries use this standard in their catalogues, and IMSLP has become a very sizeable library itself, the gains of following the LoC system should easily outweigh any small disadvantages.

I'm not suggesting we should check all of the existing composers' names in IMSLP against the LoC, and give the administrators nightmares trying to move hundreds of pages at once (even with their batch processing system). But it would be easy to check the authorities for new composers (if the LoC lists them yet), and others can be changed 'if anyone barks', as Carolus might put it. I think it would be helpful to attend to the six famous names you listed above, and others could be considered as and when they're pointed out.
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Postby Lyle Neff » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:50 pm

One thing to remember is that in ISMLP we can include redirects.
"A libretto, a libretto, my kingdom for a libretto!" -- Cesar Cui (letter to Stasov, Feb. 20, 1877)
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Postby pml » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:39 am

Add to the list:

Gluck, Christoph Willibald — fixed

(with or without the "von" after Willibald; the title of "Ritter" should not be included).

Currently misspelt without the first h in "Cristoph" (sic).
Last edited by pml on Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Operalala » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:04 pm

Even the German Wiki lists Joseph Haydn, with 'ph'.
In my own opinion, I'd wouldn't mind the titles reflecting the composer's own spelling.
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Postby Davydov » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:20 pm

Would it be possible for an administrator to make the following correction:

Smetana, Bedrich -- should be -- Smetana, Bedřich
(with an accent over the "r").

Could I also put in a plea to change Wilhelm Richard Wagner to Richard Wagner, on the basis of the Library of Congress authorities, as well as common usage?

Thanks
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Re: Suggestion concerning Composer Names

Postby pml » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:51 pm

Hi all,

I've put up a poll here with five of the composers listed above represented, including one of Davydov's suggestions. It will run for a week, and I'll probably run another one in tandem.

We really should have had a poll for the change to Satie, although I suspect it would have carried in favour of the current form. I am proposing we do not have one in the case of Gluck or Smetana, since those changes are to rectify an obvious spelling mistake (which will bring it into line with the LoC name authority in each case). I've gone ahead and done the Gluck (only 6 pages to move) and will do the Smetana when I have time.

Here are some other bugbears:

Sullivan, Arthur, rather than Sullivan, Arthur Seymour (Sir)
Beach, Amy, rather than Beach, Amy (Mrs. H. H. A.)
Jacquet de la Guerre, Elisabeth, rather than La Guerre, Elisabeth Jacquet de
Lambert, Constant, rather than Lambert, Leonard Constant
Ysaÿe, Eugène, rather than Ysaye, Eugene

I also noticed an incorrect firstname surname (probably "the elder" threw the submitter into confusion):
Gustaf Düben the elder should be Düben, Gustaf (the Elder)

As for other composers we have generally removed titles such as Sir, Don, Chevalier, Ritter, etc. thus the following anomalies:
Bishop, Sir Henry Rowley
Neukomm, Sigismund (Ritter) von
Stainlein, Comte de, Louis

The composer/conductor René-Emmanuel Baton seems to have been known more popularly as Rhené-Baton, so a change to Rhené-Baton, Emmanuel seems to be one possibility; a couple of fussier and somewhat redundant alternatives would be Rhené-Baton (Baton, René-Emmanuel) or Rhéne-Baton, (René) Emmanuel.

If memory serves there haven't been any other names questioned in other threads, have there?

Regards, PML
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Re: Suggestion concerning Composer Names

Postby aldona » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:30 am

How about Witold Maliszewski (not Malichevski, as he is listed at present - presumably the French version)?

Aldona (being pedantic about Polish spelling)
“all great composers wrote music that could be described as ‘heavenly’; but others have to take you there. In Schubert’s music you hear the very first notes, and you know that you’re there already.” - Steven Isserlis
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