Monday, May 21st, 2012...9:30 am

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Krasinsky. Ouverture et airs du ballet de Telemaque, ca. 1800. M1523.K79 T4 1800One of my greatest pleasures in cataloging is to pick up an unidentified work, wave my magic wand, and end up with a verified attribution and full access to a hitherto inaccessible item. Cataloging of this kind is becoming easier to undertake as technology improves our access to information. Many’s the time I’ve Googled an aria phrase from an unidentified 18th century manuscript, in hopes of locating a libretto and finding a place to begin my research, or compared a work in hand to an Amazon. com recording sample!

We also receive outside reference queries requesting the verification of various mystery items, and a recent cooperative endeavor with Library of Congress Senior Music Cataloger Sharon McKinley resulted in a positive identification. Ahhh, satisfaction! To read her story, please consult the Cataloger’s Corner on In The Muse, LC’s performing arts blog.

Krasinsky. Ouverture et airs du ballet de Telemaque, 1790. M1497 .M68 1787a F4

Krasinsky. Ouverture et airs du ballet de Telemaque, ca. 1800. M1523.K79 T4 1800

Their copy highlights another interesting part of the question: without title page or plate numbers, can we date it? At this time, publishers routinely went out of business or sold the publishing rights to individual works. This particular score was first published by Le Duc, with a plate number of 127. Some 10-15 years later, we see that Sieber is publishing the same piece, clearly using the same title page (with some additions, and a simple cancel slip covering the original Le Duc imprint) but with a plate number of 321 on the music. Some pages of the Sieber imprint show that the original larger plate number of 127 was scraped out; at least for these pages we can see that Sieber simply re-used the original Le Duc plates. Would a magnifying glass reveal vestiges of either plate number on the Library of Congress copy? There’s no compelling reason to examine them unless we suspect that with a new engraved plate, new music was also added. Was Telemaque performed again after its original 1790 performance at the Paris Opéra? Were some new details of the performance reflected in a new printing? Now that Ms. McKinley has identified the Library of Congress copy, Krasinsky scholars will be able to examine all of copies together. Inquiring minds want to know!

Krasinsky. Ouverture et airs du ballet de Telemaque, ca. 1800. M1523.K79 T4 1800

[Thanks to Andrea Cawelti, Ward Music Cataloger, for contributing this post.]


  • Sharon McKinley
    May 21st, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Andrea; what a wonderful follow-up to my LC post. You learn something new every day, and you just explained beautifully the mysterious ways in which publishers and plate numbers might change. Thanks for adding to my understanding and enjoyment of this era in music publishing!

  • I don’t want to add any confusion, but a bit of googling around has suggested that “Krasinsky” is a pseudonym for Ernest Louis Müller/Miller. Some references in print can be found here:

    Alas, two VIAF entries with different dates:

    At times, cataloguers must feel like Sisyphos… 😉 Being a scholar, I can tell you that your work should be held in high esteem (in my view).

  • Andrea Cawelti
    July 2nd, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    You have sharp eyes, Mr. Heßbrüggen! Kraskinsky is indeed a pseudonym, which I opted not to explain as the blog seemed to me quite complex already. It is our practice to consult the Library of Congress Authority File ( when choosing the form of name to use, and as you can see, our Mr. Krasinsky published under a lot of names, with Krasinsky given by LC as the preferred form:
    Krasinsky, 1740-1811
    Müller, Ernest Louis, 1740-1811
    Krazinsky Miller, 1740-1811
    Miller, Krazinsky, 1740-1811
    Graschinsky, Ernest Louis, 1740-1811
    Krasinsky, Ernest Louis, 1740-1811
    Mueller, Ernst Ludwig, 1740-1811
    Miller, Ernest Louis, 1740-1811
    Millard, M., 1740-1811

    The birth and death dates in the authority record are taken from the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. While there are many many sources of information available on the internet, we choose to follow LC’s records wherever possible.

    If you feel strongly that Mr. Krasinsky’s dates should be adjusted (and we do encourage people to correct errors wherever they are found) there is a “contact us” link at the bottom of the LC authority file link I’ve provided above. They are quick to respond and their record is linked to my record, which will then also be corrected. Thank you for your comment!
    Andrea Cawelti