Problems with display of albums by classical Composers

Latest Roon build on 64bit Windows 10

Description of the issue

Firstly, my apologies if my question is ignorant and explained somewhere in a piece of documentation I’m unable to find…

Some background on how I tag classical music:

(i) Generally I try to set album artist as the performer I consider to be the main performer. If there are additional performers I want to be able to link to this album I use primary artist tags.

(ii) on albums which contain music by only one composer where the performer is not known - like a cheapo ‘Beethoven’s Greatest something or others’ collection, I set the album artist to be the composer

(iii) on large boxsets containing the music of only one composer I set the album artist to be the composer NOT various artist. I just prefer not to mix these with something like ‘111 Years of DG’ which I think of as truly Various Artists.

As a result of (ii) and (iii) what I am hoping to see under the Artist Johann Sebastian Bach in the My Artists browser is all the Bach Boxsets and the single albums where all compositions are by Bach and the performers are unknown.

However, the My Artist page for Bach, and every other major classical composer, looks different from the My Artist entries for Classical performers and all Jazz and Popular artists. Whereas Pablo Casals for example, and every Jazz and Popular artist, has a section headed My Library and in the Focus pulldown I have the option under Type of ‘Main Albums’ (which appears to be the default. In Johann Sebastian Bach as an Artist there is no ‘My Library’ section and in the Focus pulldown there is only the the option ‘Composed By’ and this is not useful for finding all the albums I have coded as album artist=bach. In fact, Johann Sebastian Bach as an Artist overview is exactly the same as Johann Sebastian Bach in the Composers browser.

Currently, all the large Boxset albums I have painstaking coded as album artist Johann Sebastian Bach simply do not appear under the Artist Johann Sebastian Bach. The only way I can find them is in the album browser by filtering on Johann Sebastian Bach… and there they all are.

Is the reason for this difference the ‘Is Classical Composer’ setting in Artist Editor? If I want to see My Library and Main Albums - essentially if I want to try to use the ‘Artist’ construct for classical composers - then I must set this off? Then I assume I lose whatever utility there is in the Composers browser.

In the Roon universe, a classical composer is indeed not allowed to perform own works. Therefore, the “Composed by” will never show albums where the classical composer took the liberty to conduct or otherwise perform own compositions. It was explained somewhere why the decision was made, I believe to keep out low (metadata) quality budget compilations which often use the composer als a performer credit. And that is also why your approach to tagging won’t work well with Roon. Maybe Roon tags (ROONALBUMTAG, ROONTRACKTAG) can help you with getting things sorted the way you want it.

Unfortunately @ndrscr is right. Particularly with Classical music roon is expecting to find Composers in Composer tags and Performers in Performer/Artist/Album Artist tags. If you like modern Classical music you may need to tag living Composer/Conductors, for example, as both.

As you have discovered, roon’s composer and artist views are quite different and this basic organizational difference runs all the way through roon and is a basic pre-requisite for `much of its Classical functionality. In your example of Johann Sebastian Bach you will know you are on the right track when he doesn’t show up in “My Artists” at all. Only in “My Composers”.

If your tags are in good shape it should not be impossible a task to batch edit your files in a more roon friendly way. How long that is going to take will depend on the size of your library and the consistency of your tags. I would say it is a common enough task for those newcomers to roon who have larger libraries and have been painstakingly grooming their files in a self-invented way that works with the data model of a previous player but not necessarily with roon’s data model. I have been there myself.

I know it is not what you want to hear but the best thing is really to batch edit your files moving composers from artist fields to a composer field. That will give roon the best chance of “identifying” a high proportion of your files which should be your next task. Hopefully you will then see the benefits of your hard work and that will sugar the pill.

I would try to avoid “forcing” roon to fit in with your previous model. You are unlikely to get much benefit from a roon Classical library that way.

Well, up to a point. There are times when a classical composer has performed his own works and recordings exist of them. And Roon recognises this. Mahler for example:

Roon also knows that, for example, Bernstein was both a composer and conductor/performer.

Maybe there’s some cloud based processing; locally, Roon fails to do that. Britten conducts Britten will not show under Composed by Britten, for example. Not here.

Perhaps it’s a problem with the metadata for that particular album of yours. I don’t have it, but Britten appears in the Artist list in my library, and lists the albums where he is the conductor or performer (pianist).

I have a local copy of Britten conducts Britten, Vol. 3 and that shows up in both My Composers and My Artists. But then I have tagged Benjamin Britten as Composer, Conductor, Album Artist and Artist.

However, having said that, I often find problems with roon’s treatment of performer/composers and the more modern or less well known they are the greater the problems and the more manual tagging intervention is required if that is important to you. One common problem I find is the opposite problem where the living performer/composer gets both composer and performer credits when it should just be one or the other.

I really love this album “Mahler plays Mahler”. I also didn’t know there was a DG recording of G. Kaplan conducting the second. I’ll give it a try.
Nice overall music choice :+1:.


I have the ‘Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky’ set and, likewise, it does not show up in his compositions.

I need to modify my initial question/statement that gave rise to my thread. My original comment came from a certain amount of frustration I was feeling while I was editing tags on some large Bach, Beethoven and Mozart boxsets: no matter what I did (or have tried to do since) I have not been able to get those composers to behave like artists and show ‘Main Albums’ even where they are tagged as artists. However, having looked at a few more of the entries in my Composers browser I find that there are quite a number that behave MORE OR LESS as I want them all to behave. Examples are:

Igor Stravinsky
Leonard Bernstein
Thomas Ades
Benjamin Britten
Arvo Part
Edgar Verese
Dmitry Shostakovich

By ‘as I want them all to’ I mean that in the Type section of the Focus pulldown I have the choice of selecting ‘Main Albums’, ‘Composed By’ or ‘Appearances’. If I select ‘Main Albums’ I get all the albums where I have tagged this chap as Album Artist. Contrast this with Bach et al where in the Focus pulldown the only Type I am offered is ‘Composed By’. I haven’t checked all my Composers but the majority fall into this second (undesired) category. You’ll have to take it from me that it’s not my tagging that accounts for the difference: many of the composers in the second category have albums in my library where they are tagged as album artist and in the artist editor.

The only thing that strikes me is that the examples of the first type (my desired outcome) were or are all active in the 20th-21st centuries and I have yet to find any old and dead composers that behave they way I want despite my tagging.That surely can’t be it… does Roon treat Modern Classical differently from Romance and Baroque? Surely not. Dates can’t be the reason… I have a Bartok boxset which is tagged album artist=Bartok but my Bartok artist has no Main Albums…and he was acyive til 1941.

So, Roon seems able to do what I want but inconsistently. If I might be allowed to modify my question, how do I get Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and all the other long-dead composers to behave like Stravinsky, Ades and Part?

If anyone wants to see examples of what I see on my screen or how these artists/composers are tagged just let me know.

You need to set both composer and conductor tags. Maybe album artist and artist as well. I don’t know what the minimum requirement is as I will generally have set all four tags in cases like this. But the album should appear in both My Artists and My Composers. These sorts of cases do in my case at least.

Roon applies slightly different logic with performer/composers alive during the recording age which is what you are seeing. Of course major dead composers were all performers as well. What matters as far as data handling is concerned seems to be were they alive during the recording age.

You will have a lot easier time of it if you re-tag to fit roon’s data model. There are many aspects of roon that you will find are not backwards compatible with players you may be used to.

Thanks for the help.

I will see if the two answers you have given me account for the differences I see in my library between

a) the ones that behave as I want and the old dead ones
b) the ones that behave as I want and those composers who were active in the recording age but don’t behave as I want (i.e. Bartok)

I take the point about not trying to bend the Roon data model… but only up to a point. Roon also sells itself on the ability to tailor the way it presents the user’s library to match the user’s perspective. Since there are modernish composers that behave as I want am I really bending the data model that far to try to make it behave that way consistently across all classical composers? And I have in the back of my mind that the only reasonable alternative to coding my big boxsets with Bach (or Beethoven, or Mozart) as album artist would be to code them as Various Artists… Would you really like to argue the case that Roon does a good job of organizing and providing access to Various Artist recordings? Unless I misunderstand, various artists isn’t an artist, isn’t a composer and you can’t find it with the search… the only way you can find them at all as I understand it is by filtering in the album browser.

Thanks for checking; for some reason I experience a different but consistent behaviour. All albums where a composer is a recording artist too (conductor, album artist, track artist) will not show on the respective composer page = My Artist page. Not sure why that is, maybe because I’m using only local metadata. Need to dig into this, someday … :sunglasses:

Maybe - or maybe it’s because I don’t use “cloud” metadata. Thanks for checking!

I don’t really understand what you mean by this. The artist page and the composer page are two different pages accessed from different menu navigation. They are not the same page. If you have set a composer tag in your local files, the album will show up on the composer page. If you set an artist tag in your local files the album will show up on the artist page. If you have set both tags in your local files the album will show up on both pages. If you set neither an artist or composer tag in your local files hen the album will not show up in either page.

It has nothing to do with “cloud” data although if you use cloud data both performer and composer tags may have been set for you without you having to do any manual editing.

It doesn’t matter for me if I go to, for example, Richard Strauss via My Library > Artists or via My Library > Composers. I end on the same page - which is always the composer page when a composer is set to “classical” or automatically recognized as such.

I’m not trying to argue any case or defend roon’s data design choices. Roon is what it is. If you want to have a successful Classical library experience with roon, my experience is that you are going to have to retag your album artists to composers at some point. It is pretty much a prerequisite for everything else.

And yes, I would generally tag all large Composer box-sets as Various Artists like this:

Roon offers a lot of different ways of navigating your library in terms of composers and compositions, just not via the album artist tag which is a common convention with other players.

Are you sure you have both artist and composer tags for your problem albums?