Gavriil Nikolayevich Popov

His photo makes him look like a war criminal or, perhaps, a member of Leonid Brezhnev’s politburo… but he was ‘only’ a Soviet composer, having been born in 1904 and dying in 1972.

Cataloguing Russian or Soviet composers is always fraught with difficulty: technically, he would have spelled his own name Гаврии́л Никола́евич Попо́в, and probably without the stress marks, but we don’t want piles of Cyrillic clogging up our English-speaking music tags, I think!

So then we get into Cyrillic-to-Latin transliteration problems -and also the hoary old question of whether to use his patronymic name or not. Some Soviet-era composers generally don’t: we talk of Dmitri Shostakovich, for example, not Dmitri Dmitryevich Shostakovich. In Mr. Popov’s case, the inclusion of the patronymic in the general spelling out of his name is mandated by the New Grove dictionary. As usual, Wikipedia gets it right in the body of the article about him, but cannot seem to get the article heading to agree! Last.fm, as ever, is pretty hopeless: there are at least four versions of him there, including ‘Popov, Gavriil’, in case you missed the card index approach to cataloguing things; and an assortment of with- and without-patronymic variants. Sadly, the variant with the most listeners is just flat-out wrong, which is unfortunately pretty much par for the course as far as Last.fm are concerned.

Anyway: Gavriil Nikolayevich Popov it is and should be.

 


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