Form of "missing" title for classical album

New user here. I am looking at the database entry for release group 9390186c-0788-45c4-a800-e796e8fa484a and I see that the title is given as “Barber / Bernstein / Copland / Thompson,” following the convention for a “List of composers” title as detailed here. This is entirely sensible, since these four composers’ names are the only text on the album cover apart from the names of the ensemble (Polyphony) and their director (Stephen Layton).

However, the title of the album in question is listed as “American Polyphony” on the official websites of both the choir and the record label. Furthermore, all published reviews of this album (including those by Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and Presto Music) refer to it by this name. Nevertheless, the phrase “American Polyphony” appears nowhere on the actual disc, case, or booklet (I own a copy) - although the cover does feature a picture of an American flag.

Can anyone advise me as to whether/how it makes sense to edit the database entry for this release? As I have not previously made any edits, I am not confident about the best of course of action.


Take this as my “vote” on the matter, but I wouldn’t want you to follow this advice without input from others:

Strict adherence to the style guidelines would tell me to leave it as is, but this one is just screaming “ignore the guidelines!” in my head.

I would say that the titles shown on the official websites of the choir and record label are more than enough to demonstrate artist intent. I would do this:

  • Album Title: American Polyphony
  • Track artists: the appropriate composer

I’m a little undecided on Album Artist. I’d be okay with leaving Album Artist as is, with the 4 composers followed by the artist/conductor, but the prominence of the “Polyphony” and “Stephen Layton” on the cover really is swaying me toward Album Artist = "Polyphony, Stephen Layton." (Although the choir’s website lists the album as “Various - American Polyphony,” which makes me consider “Various Artists.”)

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And then sue the scoundrels to make them follow MB guidelines, so we don’t have to agonize over this. :laughing:


I think this album is perfectly good as is, but then, I’d say that since I was the one who edited it to look like this :slight_smile: I’d agree with naming the digital release “American Polyphony”, and possibly even the release group, but certainly not the CD, if it’s really not printed anywhere as a title (just as quick check, what does the spine say? I fixed this from the online booklet so I never saw the spines).

If “Artist Intent” is our highest guide then a change in title may be called for.

Though I argued here years ago that overvaluing “Artist Intent” corrodes “Artist Integrity”. And corroding that integrity needs to be treated as a serious matter.

Many thanks for all your thoughts.

@Beckfield Your point about artist intent is a good one. It certainly seems like the artists’ own usage ought to be a good indicator as to their preferred form of the title.

@reosarevok The CD spine would support leaving things the way they currently are (see attachment). Your suggestion about distinguishing between the physical and digital releases makes sense to me.