Feeds

'Hoax' stuns classical music world

Joyce Hatto: the greatest pianist no-one has heard of

Security for virtualized datacentres

Gramophone magazine has unearthed what one sound recording expert describes as "the biggest attempt at recording theft ever."

Thanks to the internet, the formerly obscure British classical pianist Joyce Hatto had become a critical favorite shortly before her death last year.

In 2005, the Boston Globe described her as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has heard of".

The Guardian's music critic Jeremy Nicholas called the recordings "the most extraordinary recordings I have ever heard."

"Best of all is her musical imagination, which finds original things to say about the most familiar music," wrote a thrilled Globe critic.

The problem is, experts who have analysed her recordings say, is that they're not original at all.

Over 100 CD recordings have been issued by Concert Artists Recordings, a record label run by her husband William Barrington-Coupe, all subsequent to her retirement from public performance thirty five years ago.

Sound engineer Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio, who performed an analysis of Hatto's recordings on behalf of Gramophone, says every one of the CDs he has analysed can be attributed to another artist.

"We have yet to investigate a Hatto recording that has not proved to be a hoax," concludes Rose. In several cases, says Rose, the original sound recording had been manipulated to disguise the source.

(Calls to the Concert Artists Recordings record label were not returned today.)

Unlike the case of JT Leroy, a celebrity author created by a San Francisco couple, who hired a relative to perform his public appearances, Joyce Hatto really existed. But Rose suggests that no recordings since 1970 can accurately be attributed to her.

"Joyce Hatto was a pianist of moderate status in the UK, and abroad was not considered to be a great. Then, later, she's hailed as one of the greatest of all time," he told us.

"Here we have an elderly lady who refuses to play concerts, in fact refuses to play for anybody, even friends, in any capacity."

Barrington-Coupe has expressed surprise at the allegations and says he will perform his own sound analysis. A separate investigation has shown strong correlations between recordings attributed to Hatto, and other artists.

Hatto's belated fame owes much to the internet, notes Rose.

"It's a reputation that spread through the backwaters of the internet, thanks to online reviews and comments, message boards, and particularly on Usenet, ultimately resulting in the first major article in Gramophone magazine only a year ago. It's a reputation that was built online."

"Voices were raised," he notes, but these were in a minority. Rose describes it as "utterly remarkable - the biggest attempt at recording theft ever attempted."

There is one intriguing similarity with the JT Leroy case, however. Leroy's painful "life history" - child prostitute, heroin addict - was an essential part of the authenticity of his appeal.

Here's Barrington-Coupe on the missus, with our emphasis added:

"She doesn't want to play in public because she never knows when the pain will start, or when it will stop, and she refuses to take drugs. Nothing has stopped her, and I believe the illness has added a third dimension to her playing; she gets at what is inside the music, what lies behind it." ®

Related links

Gramophone magazine

Andrew Rose's analysis (with samples)

"original things to say"... Boston Globe interview with Hatto

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.