Category: baby name Ned
by Linda Rosenkrantz
Did you know that September happens to be Classical Music Month? Well neither did I, until just recently. This new knowledge inspired me to do a Nameberry Picks list of some of the most interesting classical composers’ first names. And no, turns out they’re not all Franz or Hans or Johann—there are a variety of unusual choices –unfortunately, most of them male.
Alban Maria Berg was an Austrian composer associated with Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique and the composer of the opera Lulu. Rarely heard in the US, the saint’s name Alban –one of the more unusual paths to Al–is currently Number 132 in France. With a variant spelling, Alben Barkley (born Willie Alben) was US Veep under Harry Truman.
Yes, middle names count—especially this one of Mozart’s that became the title of a movie that won a best picture Academy Award in 1985. In 2010, tennis champ showed that this classical Latin appellation was still wearable when he named his son Amadeus Benedict.
Midway through compiling this week’s list, I realized just how many great boys’ names are out there.
This is a subject of some debate. Creativity in naming a son was long frowned on, and parents tended to fall back on the most familiar choices. In 1900, more than 6% of all newborns were named John, while just 5.25% answered to Mary. #2 name, William, was given to almost 5.3% of boys, but the #2 girl name, Helen, represented just under 2% of new births. The names change, but the pattern holds. In 1965, 4.3% of boys were Michael, and 3.3% of girls answered to Lisa. Generally speaking, more boys receive the most popular names.
Reasons are plentiful, and even the most daring namer of daughters may very well veer towards the classics for a son, leading to sibsets like James, Henry, and Persephone. But could this be the generation to challenge that pattern?