Talk:Hector Berlioz

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Featured articleHector Berlioz is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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I see an IP (from Paris if the reporting tools are correct) has changed the capitalisation of, e.g. La damnation de Faust and L'enfance du Christ to La Damnation de Faust and L'Enfance du Christ. I've changed it back to the approved FA version for now, but I'd be glad of people's thoughts on it. French practice on the capitalisation of titles varies capriciously. Of the main sources for the article, Hugh Macdonald in the Grove article on HB and Julian Rushton in The Music of Berlioz print La damnation de Faust and L'enfance du Christ; D Kern Holoman in his Berlioz and Peter Bloom in The Cambridge Companion to Berlioz print La Damnation de Faust and L'Enfance du Christ. (Cairns avoids the issue by translating the titles into English, but when obliged to use the French he is with Grove and Rushton – Les nuits d'été). Our articles on both works follow the Grove line, but I see that the French Wikipédia articles capitalise Damnation and Enfance, and our manual of style seems to agree (sort of). Has anyone got any views on the matter? Tim riley talk 22:01, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Yikes, and I was always "certain" that lower case was right, because French -- is that not true? Have we got an expert watching this page? (If there is such a thing on capitalisation rules in French?) I have changed these myself in a few places, from upper to lower case. Antandrus (talk) 23:31, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
We also have MOS:FOREIGNTITLE, which has "For historical works, follow the dominant usage in modern, English-language, reliable sources." Antandrus (talk) 23:39, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I always ask LouisAlain for French, who said capital Damnation, but wasn't heard last time around, because The Grove knows better than the French. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:49, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
G. Arendt's addtion duly noted, Tim riley talk 22:43, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

The usage of the major publishers in France (e.g. Gallimard or the NRF) is –or was– to add a capital to the first word (usually a substantive) following an initial definite article. Thus, La Damnation de Faust and L'Enfance du Christ. (That Faust and Christ have a capital is for another reason: they are proper names.) This usage unfortunately is disappearing.

A very special and interesting case is the "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun". L'Après-midi d'un faune, the title of Mallarmé's poem, for the reason stated above, has (or should have) a capital at both the definite article (L') and at the substantive following it (Après-midi). The title therefore should read L'Après-midi d'un faune. Since Debussy's Prelude is a prelude to this poem, its title should be written Prélude à L'Après-midi d'un faune – this has been my own usage as director for close to twenty years of one of the main journals of music theory in France. Many people do not seem to realize that the title of the poem includes the definite article and write Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune, as if the poem's title was Après-midi d'un faune. – Hucbald.SaintAmand (talk) 21:49, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Thank you. That's very helpful. I'm fine with it either way -- as long as we're consistent within the article, of course -- how consistent are we within en: Wikipedia? I wonder. At any rate now I think I know why an editor from an IP address geolocating to Paris was changing it. Antandrus (talk) 22:05, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Hucbald.SaintAmand. Like Antandrus, I'm biddable either way, and this input is most helpful. Tim riley talk 22:20, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/France and French-related articles, there are two different standards for capitalization in French titles, and the one now endorsed by the English Wikipedia is no longer the sentence-case version (as was formerly the case). Hucbald has brought up an extremely interesting complication, which would apply in either of the two styles. The issue, however, is not what French usage regards as correct (since there are two conflicting standards) but, rather, which of these standards is to be followed on English Wikipedia. Like Antandrus, I do not prefer one style over the other, but it seems clear that the Powers That Be have made a decision, and we should abide by it. Until, of course, the PTB change their mind.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:27, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for that addition – most helpful. Tim riley talk 08:27, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

The Règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie nationale (I quote the third edition, 1990, which is not the last one), supposed to be the main authority in this matter, specifies that the definite article takes the capital if it indisputably belongs to the title, and adds that this capital may disappear if the article is contracted, for instance if one wrote of "l'auteur du Rouge et le Noir". It does not take the capital (nor the italic) if the title is shortened (le Mariage, le Sacre). Adjectives or adverbs between the definite article and the first substantive also take a capital (Les Cinq Dernières Minutes). In an enumeration of substantives, they all take the capital, but not the repeated definite article: La Répétition ou l'Amour puni, Don Juan ou le Festin de pierre. But these Règles also show that I was wrong in my writing of the title of Debussy's Prelude: "If the title includes another title [...] the preceeding rules are applied separately to both titles (with the reservation already mentioned concerning the initial article of the second title): Le Mariage de Figaro ou la Folle Journée" (where La Folle Journée, the second title included in the first, looses the capital of its initial article, but keeps a capital at the adjective before the substantive). Debussy's Prelude therefore should read Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune; I have been wrong for decades.

Isn't French a beautiful language? — Hucbald.SaintAmand (talk) 14:57, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

Ah, yes, thank you. (Every time I think I understand French I discover I was wrong.) Antandrus (talk) 15:06, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
I too begin to doubt, even although it is my native language (or so I think). But isn't that the pleasure of languages? Hucbald.SaintAmand (talk) 19:28, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Quite so (though it would be a rash Anglophone who criticised Francophones for inconsistency, at which we are surely world champions). But how to take the matter forward? I suggest we leave this thread open for a few days and then, unless anything comes up to suggest otherwise, apply the capital letters to La Damnation de Faust, L'Enfance du Christ, Les Nuits d'été, et al, including La Mort d'Orphée, La Mort de Sardanapale and La Nonne sanglante. I suppose we ought to seek consensus to changing the titles of the articles similarly. Does this seem a sensible way to proceed? Tim riley talk 19:55, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
That works for me. Certainly we can start small, i.e. with this article.
I wonder if this is worth a mention at a WikiProject, especially before expanding beyond this article. Does anyone know a way to list all the articles on English Wikipedia that have French titles (music, books, paintings, ...) I'm curious to know how consistent we have been project-wide. Antandrus (talk) 20:39, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
If there is a way to do this, it would be very helpful. As to the issue of consistency, keep in mind that the Wikipedia style on this matter changed fairly recently (I don't recall exactly when, but perhaps two or three years ago). Before that time, I can recall seeing changes made on several articles from this more complicated to the simpler sentence-case style. I only became aware of the policy change after seeing several changes in the opposite direction. As far as I am aware, there has been no organized effort to bring French titles into line with the new style position.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:56, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that typographic usages are disappearing, even among the best publishers in France. Whatever we do, at some point French titles will be written with only the first word capitalized. The later the better, I think, but it is a lost battle. — Hucbald.SaintAmand (talk) 06:01, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
We seem to be done here. I'll give it a day or two more just in case and then apply the capitalisation ("La Damnation" not "La damnation" etc) as discussed above. Where we go more widely with this question of upper and lower case after that, "I put it to you and I leave it to you", as Doolittle says in Pygmalion. Tim riley talk 19:17, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure this from Hucbald.SaintAmand is fine. In fact I am terribly lazy; I generally put what my reliable source says then wait for a rules policeperson to come along and change it. For certain topics good non-French reliable sources are hard to find.Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 19:55, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
Capitalisation as discussed now applied throughout (I hope, but if anyone spots one I've missed, please dive in and change it). Thank you to all Wiki-colleagues who have contributed to this discussion. Tim riley talk 20:17, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
To Jerome, thank you for spotting and changing the ones I've missed, and to anyone following the above, I've started the ball rolling at Talk:La damnation de Faust#Capitalisation: a start, at least, failing any centralised discussion. Comments welcome, naturally. Tim riley talk 23:00, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
You are very welcome. This is a vexing business. I trust that the change of Wikipedia policy will in the end prove fruitful. I have quailed, I'm afraid, at adding Les francs-juges to the very long backlog of requests for overriding redirects. Perhaps someone will eventually notice.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Postscript – I am increasingly convinced that the French ways of capitalising titles are deliberately contrived to send the innocent Anglo-Saxon round the virage. Having, I thought, got a handle on them from the above I had cause to look at Le Ménestrel's obituary for Sir Arthur Sullivan printed in November 1900, and lo, we find le Contrebandier, di Ballo, la Tempête, les Joyeuses Commères de Windsor, le Marchand de Venise, le Mikado, and la Rose de Perse. Not a capitalised Le or La in sight. I'm not proposing anything – merely expostulating. Tim riley talk 10:44, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

That's OK, Tim, get it off of your chest. You will feel so much better.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:05, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, sir! But, well, you know, I mean, really! Tim riley talk 19:27, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Lead image 2[edit]

CrazyBoy826 has replaced the existing lead image with an 1860 photo by Nadar. It is an excellent picture - I don't think I've ever seen it before - and CrazyBoy's edit summary is a model of courteous tact. All the same, my preference is for the old one, because it is a very familiar image of Berlioz in his creative prime. What do others think? Tim riley talk 21:23, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

I agree that we should go back to the image of Berlioz in his prime. This is a better representation of the composer for a Lead image. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:04, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
I also agree. In spite of the claim of "more color", the newer portrait has a rather grim, underlit quality. The earlier one has much better shadow scale. And what does "based on a photograph by Nadar" mean? A painting executed in 2014? And by whose hand was that painting made? The original Nadar photograph, if available, would be a valuable addition to the article, but not at the top of the page.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:26, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
I concur that the original image of Berlioz as a younger man is the more suitable one here to use as a lead image. The new image that has been put here in its place is excellent, but in the interests of seeing Berlioz in his prime, this just misses the mark. CassiantoTalk 05:48, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Given the consensus here, I've put it back to the status quo of the older image. Cheers - SchroCat (talk) 08:29, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
    • Thanks to all for contributions. And thanks too to Crazyboy for his interest and co-operative approach. Tim riley talk 16:28, 31 May 2020 (UTC)

Prix de Rome[edit]

Hi Tim riley i added the paragraph about the Prix de Rome as i think this is an important prize that Berlioz tried to get 4 times so there is relevance to add it and who he interacted with at the time. However, instead of a deletion, i can shorten the paragraph. how about the following:

"Berlioz hired Louise Dabadie her to sing his version of Hermine for the 1828 Prix de Rome and was awarded the second prize. He hired her again in 1829 for La mort de Cléopâtre. She sang in the qualification round but couldn't make it to the final round. Berlioz failed to win either first or second prize" --Charc2018 (talk) 18:20, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

To my mind this belongs in the singer's article but is pretty irrelevant to Berlioz's. Your first sentence makes it appear that his choice of singer affected the result of the competition, which none of the sources even suggest, as far as I recall. Let us see what other interested editors think. Tim riley talk 18:25, 19 August 2020 (UTC)