How did Madame Sidney Pratten Spell Her Own Professional Name?

Published by Legacy of Matanya Ophee on

And how was it spelled by her sister?

(This is work in progress. It was prompted by claims made by Dr. Arthur J. Ness  that the German-English 19th century guitarist Catharina Josepha Pelzer who was known by the professional name of Madame Sidney Pratten was really Madame Sidney-Pratten (name hyphenated), since Sidney was not her husband’s given or middle name, but part of his surname. Since all the available printed music by Madame Sidney Pratten attributes the music to Madame Sidney Pratten, and she is so referred to by every existing dictionary, library catalogue and on line data-bases as such, I asked Ness to provide any proof that his contention is supported by any evidence. The only thing he came up with was the one of two entries in the Zuth Handbuch der Gitarre und Laute which used the hyphenated name. He kept mentioning some flute sources that refer to her flutist husband as a Mr. Sidney-Pratten. He refused to state which are those sources. I am now conducting a thorough research on all known flute literature with the help of the head of the flute department at OSU. When this is done, I will post the results here. Not that it matters a whole lot of beans one way or the other. The music of Madame Sidney Pratten, with or without a hyphen, is not exactly something which any reasonable guitarist would want to waste time on. But for the sake of historical accuracy, a hyphen matters, it seems. For the time being, here is some stuff I have on hand:

Last Modified: 02/22/2008

[DGA Editor 3/12/2022: See Andrew Britton The Guitar in the Romantic Period: its musical and social development, with special reference to Bristol and Bath, Royal Holloway College, University of London, dissertation 2010, page 260, footnote 160: “*Sidney was the maiden name of Stephen Pratten’s wife.” All of Stephen Pratten’s children carried the name “Sidney”: William Sidney Pratten (1820-1882), Frederick Stephen Sidney Pratten (1823-1873), and Robert James Sidney Pratten (1824-1868).]


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