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Kabalevsky operas

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Author Topic: Kabalevsky operas  (Read 470 times)
Neil McGowan
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« on: March 22, 2013, 08:46:51 pm »

Incidentally,a query for our East european members. Is it Liadov or Lyadov? I seem to encounter these different spellings when I 'google' his name!

There's no definitive answer to this question, in fact Smiley)  The reason being that the process of transfer ("transliteration") from one alphabet to another is often a matter of taste - since the entire process is one of 'rough equivalents'.  Generally speaking, there's an increasing trend these days to using the so-called "Harvard" convention on transcription these days - it's just as good as any other, and it's based on sound logic, so I tend to go with it myself.

However, when there are established exceptions, I think it's generally best to go with them. These particularly occur when the composer or performer themselves had a preferred way they like to see their name in the Latin alphabet. For example, Rachmaninoff preffered those two final 'ffs' to a 'v', and he signed autographs on his many tours of the USA using the spelling "Rachmaninoff'. I believe that it would be remarkably presumptuous to contradict the composer himself in a case like this!  Even though that '-off' ending is nowadays considered an old-fashioned sort of spelling.

But the most numerous exceptions are cases where Russian (or USSR-era, or other Cyrillic-spelt...) composers had their music published abroad.  This was the case with Tchaikovsky, Kabalevsky, Medtner and many others.  The point being that the leading music-publishers of the day were GERMAN, and thus they spelt-out Tchaikovsky's name as it 'ought to look in German'.  Thus it needs a leading 'T' for him to avoid becoming 'Shaikovsky'.  The same is true of Medtner,  who has no 'd' at all in Russian - but his surname had a German counterpart, and thus it was used. Much of this was down to the Russian publisher Jurgenson, who set up these joint-publishing deals abroad - and himself used a Germanified spelling of his own surname Smiley

Of course there are no fixed rules here, and if you buy a disk of Swan Lake in France, you'll find that the composer is Monsieur Chaikoffski Smiley)

Things get even more complex when the composer's name is in a non-Russian language that's been written out in Russian (sometimes wrongly!) - like Khachaturian, whose name is correctly spelt only in his native Armenian..  then muddled through Russian into an anglicised version. And also for Georgian, Uzbek, Tajik, and other composers whose countries don't use either Latin or Cyrillic.

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