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26 February, 2007


More on the Joyce Hatto scandal, which I summarised last week.

I was slightly mistaken in calling her 'an obscure pianist', as she was moderately well-known in the 1950s and 60s, but retired from public performance in the 1970s having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. From then on she was indeed little-known until 2003 when her husband's label released a CD then, before her death in 2006, a further 103 – 104 CDs in three years – supposedly of her recording career since 1989. This was a period when she was seriously ill, undergoing major surgery on multiple occasions and being hospitalised 68 times in her final decade. Even before there was serious reason to doubt it, people questioned her 'superhuman' energy. Some also questioned whether a single pianist could cover the sheer range of her supposed repertoire with such virtuosity.

Following the initial identification of her recording of Liszt's 12 'Transcendental Études' as actually being by László Simon, 26 more Hatto CDs (and counting) have been verified as er, 'misattributed' (e.g. Chopin's Mazurkas). The New York Times suggests all 104 might be plagiarised. Even the conductor cited for each of 'her' concerto recordings seems to be fictitious.

[Update 27/02/07: Of course, as soon as I posted that, more news broke. The husband seems to have confessed.]


It's been a fascinating story: Gertsamkunstwerk has been following it closely.

Posted by looby at February 28, 2007 12:47 PM
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