Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hatto Hoax Over, Predictable.

Hardly worth the notice, but here is the Gramophone story revealing the Joyce Hatto hoax.

Predictably, Barrington-Coupe cites his love for his wife and her reputation,

Although she kept up a rigorous practice regime, Barrington-Coupe says that Hatto was suffering more than she admitted, even to herself. Recording session after recording session was marred by her many grunts of pain as she played, and her husband was at a loss to know how to cover the problem passages.

Until, that is, he remembered the story of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf covering the high notes for Kirsten Flagstad in the famous EMI recording of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Surely something similar could apply here, he reasoned. He began searching for pianists whose sound and style were similar to that of his wife, and once he had found them he would insert small patches of their recordings to cover his wife’s grunts.

Fair enough. However, that doesn't quite absolve him of his crimes. Robert van Bahr, head of the small and interesting BIS, is being quite the sport about all this; of all the sordid goings-on, Van Bahr's willingness to let sleeping dogs lie is quite gallant.

This, aside from the initial shock to the quiet, polite, and pleasant world of classical music, is a bit formulaic. However, as such, it wasn't a surprise when Barrington-Coupe finally decided to come clean and be left alone. Odd thing is, though, he managed to trash his beloved wife's reputation now and forever.

Talk about your Pyrrhic defeats.


At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, and wasn't that the theme of "Sweeney Todd," too? What I Did For Love.

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Well, let's not lump an elderly British hoaxster in with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

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