Saturday, February 17, 2007

Classical Music World Rocked By Hoax

This is fascinating. A little known pianist named Joyce Hatto retired from her modest concert career to fight cancer and then spent years focusing on recording numerous classics. She began to draw a cult following, with people proclaiming her the greatest pianist no one had ever heard of, and so on. The only problem? The recordings, apparently, weren't of her. She and her husband apparently just appropriated performances by other pianists, sometimes digitally manipulating them a tad to disguise thier origins. Then one person inserted a CD of hers into iTunes and it identified the piece as being performed by Lazlo Simon. (This strikes me as truly odd. Surely iTunes just reads an id marker that's inserted on the CD by the record label. It's not as if they listen to the music and THEN decide who the artist is. Is it possible her husband got lazy (most of the CDs were released in the last ten years in a flood) and just slapped her label on a CD by Simon? That's the only explanation I can think of for that error.) Well, Hatto may live forever yet: I see a TV movie or film or at least a book in her future.

2 comments:

Ed Sikov said...

The iTunes i.d. thing struck me as strange, too. How did it know???

Michael in New York said...

All I can imagine is that the husband got really lazy or pressed for time and just copied the master recording of the other artist and slapped her name on the label without bothering to change the id code or fiddling with it electronically so the recordings wouldn't be too similar.