The "Joyce Hatto"  hoax, and the segment from the Liszt 'Mephisto Waltz' which first drew attention to Hatto.
The Joyce Hatto Hoax Log

The New Yorker article ( Sept. 17 issue )

Why?  My theory on what was behind the hoax.

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First two entries made here after discovery of the hoax was announced Feb. 15, 2007.
A Gramophone article indicates that at least a few of the Hatto recording tracks are electronic waveform-matches for recordings released earlier by other pianists.  This is all quite incredible.  The indicators are ominous, as at this point there's no palatable explanation.   Feb. 15, 2007
    (Updated Feb.20 to report William Barrington-Coupe's denials in private mail.)

  That was written a few days ago, and this CD fraud is now considered the most "jawdropping" scandal ever to hit the "polite" world of classical music.  A firestorm of talk rages in classical music forums around the globe.  And it's usually not polite :-).  See the history of the 'discovery' of Hatto, by listeners and music critics, below this news area.

Gramophone updated 2/26/07 to report William Barrington-Coupe's 'confession'

REFERENCE:       (Refresh/reload this page to see latest updates.)     Skip to Latest News.
  • Hear 3 audio comparisons by Pristine Audio.
  • CHARM - Another analysis and comparison, plus some history
    You can hear the Indjic along with Hatto (exact match) in a beautifully wistful rendering of a Chopin Mazurka.  The article explains what you're hearing.
  • The very thorough and fascinating Wikipedia article on Hatto includes a growing list of recordings attributed to Hatto that have been identified as played by other pianists on earlier recordings.
  • Listing of claimed CD-track matches, not yet verified
  • Farhan Malik's new excellent and thorough Hatto CD resource includes a full listing of Hatto CDs and the current identification status for each.  The actual pianists' CDs are highlighted and waveform-comparisons shown for many tracks.  Some amazing work done here, as some CDs have tracks stolen from several pianists and which are sometimes sped up or slowed down.  Add that some versions of the same CD can have different tracks used, and the work involved is huge.    Here is Farhan's list of Hatto-pianists identified so far and the Latest Updates page.
  • NPR audio - Feb 22, Talk of the Nation program.   (Added to Reference section 7/20/07).
        While Gramophone still had the iTunes-Distler-discovery story wrong on this Feb. 22 audio, giving Gramophone's Jed Distler sole credit for the discovery although ClassicsToday.Com had the full story on Feb. 17, this is an interview with James Inverne of Gramophone and Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio and includes an audio sample of a segment of the Rachmaninof piano concerto 3rd played simultaneously from the Bronfman CD and the "Hatto" CD of this work.
  • 1 hr audio -Joyce Hatto radio interview by phone on April 7, 2006 (Thursday evening in the UK), first broadcast May 28, 2006,with comments from conductor Vernon Handley at the beginning of the program, 35~ yrs later after he conducted the Bax Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra with Hatto.  This was re-broadcast on Dec. '06.
        The program is Murray Khouri's "Pressing On" for Radio New Zealand, this segment is also still hearable (in case the other is taken down) at this cached area.
    * As of May 2007, the veledan site is out of commission and the cached copy was removed.  One can wonder why. *  Contact me if you wish to find a copy of the broadcast that some have kept.
  • Follow up interview Feb 19 '07 discussing ABOVE interviewer's reaction to the news and to William Barrington_Coupe.  Very dramatic.  Radio New Zealand will keep this in the archives.
  • A half-hr BBC radio "Front Row" broadcast on the Hatto story includes fascinating interviews with many, and audio samples aplenty, including an early Hollywood themes extract by Hatto.  They use some clips from Murray Khouri's 1-hr interview broadcast and read some reviews from the the time.  More to the point, at minute 22:10 it includes BIS's Robert von Bahr's confirmation that in a private letter from Barrington-Coupe, the latter admitted to taking "whole recordings" (mentioned in a Chicago Tribune article Feb. 28 also but no longer available for free). Vernon Handley talks (09:25) of hearing her play and thinking "... well, this was a tremendous talent" but hoped, even "with marvelous fingers" she could "get around this highly difficult work" at a time when she didn't have great experience at playing with orchestra so he found it very difficult to stay with her.  Almost lost is the BBC comment that Handley had found WB-C an "efficient fixer."
        They also have interviews with two past adult pupils who praise her for what she was able to get out of them (08:10).  Record collector Bob Snow talks about finding a used Mozart recording by "Hatto," subsequently googling her and winding up with 2 years of cd purchases and about 1200 emails with the company, which claimed to have 32 people working there and 4 locations, with 13 'signatories' emailing with him! Apr 6.
  • *Back* - Radio New Zealand report with a brief, previously unheard portion of interview with Joyce Hatto describing her husband's ability to identify any pianist he hears.  This report interprets Barrington-Coupe's statements as admitting to ultimately stealing whole pieces by others but using slight time-stretching techniques on them.  I have to listen again, but the part about Hatto saying she didn't herself listen much does not seem to be in this (but I could be wrong and am rushing out).
  • BBC Radio Audio-Minutes 09:10-09:40 - Comparisons and also actual earlier Hatto. Until March 3  The page describes what listeners will hear.  The audio's been removed as planned.
  • Usenet-group discussion (Dec '06) of Gramophone's response to some readers' skepticism in mid-2006 about the Hatto recordings
  • WHY?  Possible motivations for this hoax - my theory as of May 22.

  • A listing of actual Hatto performances in London and additional concert dates
  • A report by Vernon Handley of his impressions from meeting her and conducting her Bax Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra.
  • A statement by ''jpowell' - a sr. member of Pianophilia forums - in Dec. '06, that "I know people who heard her in the 50s and 60s in London and are not surprised by the quality of her recordings ..." indicates she may have had a half-decent reputation back then. Update 9/28/07 - This is apparently Jonathan Powell - a pianist and composer with glowing reviews.  In February 2007, he added that "My friend the composer John White (of piano sonata fame, or infamy) heard Joyce Hatto in the Wigmore in the 50s (or sometime back then) in a concert featuring many pianists. She played a Liszt H Rhapsody quite badly, and at the end of the concert, reappeared on the stage, saying 'I think I played my piece rather badly, so here it is again'; the next time it was impressive. So that's one person who saw her live. Jonathan."
  • There has been also the now altogether suspect Burnett James's account of a concert by Hatto the late 1960s that included Listz's Twelve Transcendental Etudes, preceded by the composer's earlier Twelve Etudes Op 1 and "several late pieces she played as "unusually interesting encores ..."
    The source and validity of Burnett James's account is now in question as he died some time ago and James's report was never published anywhere during his lifetime.  It was provided, from my understanding, by WB-C. (Mar 07)
        Earlier "hype" for actual Hatto? - "The Guardian's Neville Cardus{died 1975} is reported to have called her "a British pianist to challenge the German supremacy in Beethoven and Brahms."
        Cardus again - his reported description of her (live) Brahms Paganini Variations
         "despatched in a seamless riot of ecstatic bravura laced with underlying
          deep musical feeling rarely countenanced in this work".
        Beyond these newspaper obituary reports, these quotes have not been confirmed (and were almost surely creations by the dynamic duo).

  • A note by me Feb. 24:  In the one-hr interview and excerpts broadcast circa 2005, [later note: no longer available publicly but findable] she was asked whether she wanted to leave a legacy.  Her response was that she mainly kept in mind what her parents always said to her, "Just make sure you're not a disappointment."

        If, in fact, she somehow was not involved in this hoax but thought her own studio recordings were being released (improbable because of the concerto works though), her husband should make that known as soon as possible.  If this was done for her, it should stop for her. (Feb. 24, 2007)
        UPDATE:  A 'confession' letter was released Feb. 26 but many hoped for an explanation how she could have been unaware of the concerto recordings released under her name but now ID'd as performed by others.
          The explanation won't likely be coming.

        UPDATE 6/29/07 for the record: Unusual wording from Boston Globe, Feb. 27, given by Bis's Robert von Bahr in a unique quote from a WB-C letter to von Bahr in this article but not quoted anywhere else in the news:

            "My wife was completely unaware that I did this, and I simply let her hear... the finished editing that she thought was completely her own work."

        As said before, the concerto recordings are not explained.  While I entertained for a few milliseconds the notion that she might have recorded solo portions and had been told by WB-C that he would merge hers with the studio musicians later (as Bernstein had done with Hadley and Candide), WB-C has not even attempted this unlikely explanation.     My current theory, then.

NEWS / ARTICLES / DISCUSSIONS:       (Refresh/reload this page to see latest updates.)

Click to see latest "Hatto" CD actual-pianist identifications by Farhan Malik at any time.
  • The Scotman's Kenneth Walton alerts UK readers to "The Great Piano Scam" documentary described below.  Both stories have summaries of the fiasco.  July 29, 2009
  • "Symphony in Deceit" - a news alert for the new Channel Four documentary, "The Great Piano Scam," by BBC correspondent and film-maker Susannah Price, on the Joyce Hatto hoax, to be broadcast July 31, 2009 on UK Channel Four's First Cut series.  The report is by Geoffrey Wansell for The Daily Mail Online.
  • canada.com story with Janina Fialkowska's thoughts upon discovering that it was her own track that was used for the now infamous "Hatto" Mephisto Waltz track.  (Revised 4/24/16 to replace the link to Fialkowska's newsletter of November 2007, which is not on Fialkowski's new website.).
      Title: Stolen: One Mephisto Waltz.  Fialkowska was the actual pianist for The Mephisto Waltz track, hearable in mp3 format below.  "Janina Fialkowska's 'glorious' recording received raves, but for another pianist, writes Steven Mazey. May 15, '08."  See Sept. 17 entry.
  • Update - Adam Skoumal (on Studio Matous) has been identified as the pianist for the Schumann Carnaval on the "Hatto" Schumann Volume 6 CD.  The CD content was temporarily posted in a call for matches in March, as the forum member who uploaded it hoped to find the actual pianist.  Included on that disc were the Schumann Toccata, also played by Skoumal, and the Fantasie in C, Op. 17, for which the pianist has not been identified yet.  He also plays the Schumann Allegro and Paganini Etudes used in the Hatto Schumann Vol. 5 CD.  Farhan Malik identified some bizarre small changes to isolated pauses and notes here.
      See Malik's Latest Updates page for latest pianist-identifications (such as Stefan Vladar in the Beeethoven DiabelliVariations).  Jan. '08
  • Fiorentino announcement by CHARM group - Ernst Lumpe wrote the Fiorentino yahoogroup about the announcement today. Dec 11. (See Dec. 9 entry.)
  • Eugen Indjic, whose recording of Chopin Mazurkas were a prime key in the Hatto hoax discovery, talks while in Birmingham, Alabama, about the positive effect of this for his work. Dec. 9.
  • Ernst Lumpe has let the Sergio Fiorentino group know that Concert Artists' later 'discovered' Fiorentino recordings are likely not by Fiorentino.  CHARM notified Lumpe that they have discovered a disc whose tracks Barrington-Coupe stole from other recordings.  Their public announcement should be coming soon.  There are known-Fiorentino recordings on APR as well as the live RAI recordings, and Fiorentino can be seen in videoclips at YouTube.  The older Fiorentino recordings carried by Concert Artists are by Fiorentino.  To learn more you can join the Fiorentino group which Ernst leads.  His discography will be adjusted for the 'later' recordings "discovered" by Barrington-Coupe.  For more information on Fiorentino, see his history and memorial and reviews of his live performances.  It's incredible to me that Barrington-Coupe would carry this outside his household and sully the reputation of this artist. Dec. 9
  • An abridged version by The Telegraph (UK) of Mark Singer's full and comprehensive New Yorker article but with a blander title.  Thanks to Bob Snow for the link.  Oct. 11.
  • Ates Orga's postscript to the Hatto saga, that follows his long-ago survey of the Hatto discs.  It's brief, but he writes that a longer article will follow.  In the meantime, he writes of a plan by Barrington-Coupe as early as August of 2006, said by WB-C to have been carried through, to destroy all personal correspondence, photos, concert programmes, after her death -- no explanation is made by WB-C in the excerpt. MusicWeb update was Oct. 18, '07.
  • Could Gramophone Magazine just become a bit more forthcoming??  There's no cause for that much Hatto embarrassment (in my view) otherwise.
        Donald Manildi, curator of the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland, writes in Pianophiles group message on Sept. 29 that "I still think it interesting that the letter I posted to Gramophone's editor in June (which was acknowledged by email), proving the falsity of Morrison's categorical "I have never heard any of the discs on which the epic Hatto deception was based" (in his own letter to the editor), was never printed in the magazine."
      Here's the review by Bryce Morrison (a reviewer I enjoy, despite and because of his colorful and often flowery writing), of Bronfman's Rachmaninov's third piano concerto.
       The hard-copy magazine (Sept. '92) compared three pianists in Rachmaninov, and they all received the usual headers in the review, for each recording.  However, in the free and searchable Gramophone online-archives (a terrific feature), the header for Bronfman is totally missing, which causes searches for Bronfman and Rachmaninov to fail to find it online.  One would think they'd fixed that by now, as it's been discussed among pianophiles who searched for it after remembering the review and after The New Yorker Magazine's Mark Singer quoted that review for their much-read and admired Hatto article.  (Personally, I think a 14-yr interval CAN find a different listening mindset).
        And here's the the original Feb. 15 Hatto hoax announcement by Gramophone, amended about a week later with actual information on who did discover the iTunes problem though Gramophone did not announce they amended the announcement (a bit of piano history) while still using the original Feb. 15 date.   Stephen Pollard and many other bloggers just copied and pasted the original announcement that day.  I admire MusicWeb for continuing to show its own history online, though I imagine they'll have more explanatory text prefacing the old articles soon and links to the actual CDs involved eventually.

  • Latest identifications - as of 10/5/07.  Waveform files for the Mephisto Waltz are up and the timing is identical.
      A Recital of French Music:  Josep Colom, Izumi Tateno, Margit Rahkonen.
      Debussy Arabesques Nos. 1 and 2 on Debussy Volume 2:  Balázs Szokolay.
      All Mozart Variations:  Ingrid Haebler.
      Prokofiev Scherzo on Prokofiev Volume 4:  Lev Vinocour
      All tracks of Liszt-Bach Vol 1 and some of Liszt-Bach Vol. 2:  Karl-Andreas Kolly.

  • The Mephisto Waltz excerpt has been identified by Farhan Malik with confirmation by Donald Manildi -- the pianist is Janina Fialkowska.  Waveform confirmation included on Oct.1 -  NO speed-up.    
    Fialkowska's biography and back-story are, ironically, at least as dramatic as the Hatto one, although of course she's not released 100~ CDs.  According to her website, she is currently slated to play recitals in Rome, Toronto, and London and concertos in North America, Europe and Japan.  The excerpt which raised eyebrows and earflaps back in late 2002 is still hearable at the bottom of this page.  Here is the CD source with more excerpts.  The excerpt at Amazon is from another section of the work and in a lower key.   Sept. 17.
        Malik reports that Fialkowska's Venezia e Napoli is also a Hatto source.
        Update 10/10/07: Fialkowska will be on the panel for Remembering Rubinstein, 25 years after his death, an event organized by Lady Annabelle Weidenfeld, who assisted Rubinstein with his second volume of memoirs.  The event will be held on Jan. 22, 2008, in London at the Royal Academy of Music.  Fialkowska will also play the Schumann Piano Quintet with the Guarneri String Quartet, who will be disbanding at the end of the 2008-2009 season.

  • William Barrington-Coupe offers to refund money for orders by Frank Berger and makes good on the offer.  Berger had been writing about his attempts to get the authorities to do something about WB-C's offering CDs that were fraudulent, the works performed by others and not by Hatto.  The varying reactions to this are at least as interesting.  Oct. 10

  • Mark Singer's extremely well-written "Fantasia for Piano ... Joyce Hatto's Incredible Career," in the Sept. 17 issue of The New Yorker, is the most comprehensive and accurately presented, even entertaining, article I've read in connection with the human aspects and non-technical side of the Hatto fiasco.  It's an in-depth exploration of a psychological puzzle.
        Along with the full article online (for now), the New Yorker site is offering a 15-minute AUDIO file: "Too Good to be True" -- Singer talks with Matt Dellinger about Hatto, with music clips and audio of Joyce Hatto interviewed by phone.  It's an excellent introduction to the story and includes a discussion of the waveform analyses and what they mean(t) to the discovery and verification of the hoax.
        The article details  1) what can be determined of the beginnings of the hoax;  2) the background and some early clues;  3) early interest in the recordings when there were only ~16 CDs (Jan. 2003);  4) the slow growth of the pianist's reputation until a newspaper article in summer 2005 announcing her cancer and highlighting her now 100+ recordings caused an explosion of music-critic interest and a backlash;  5) the unraveling of the hoax (there is an interview with a major participant in the exposure of the fiasco who was omitted in some stories), and  6) the various intense responses to the revelations.  There is also a fascinating interview with Barrington-Coupe and illuminating conversations with others caught up in the mess.  Singer manages to provide a coherent structure, timeline, and perspective for what is really a quite complex story.  Wryly insightful and very balanced, this article is highly recommended.
        I received an advance PDF copy of the Hatto article and permission to forward it to the interested.  (Fans of the magazine may not know that The Complete New Yorker, on 9 DVDs (Feb 1925 through Apr 2006), is available for $30.)   Sept. 9-10.

  • Intelligent Life, The Economist's new quarterly (formerly annual) magazine, debuted today (Sept. 4) at newsstands in the UK, with an issue that includes (online also) a more in-depth story on the Hatto debacle than usual.   The article has an apropos banner illustration and, as Farhan Malik mentioned in Pianophiles forum, while there are "a few inaccuracies in the back story"...he found it, "on the whole ... quite interesting and well worth reading."   As the person who runs the great-pianists forum, I should add that it wasn't the great-pianists forum which had the initial listening to Hatto recordings while regularly listening, at the time, to regular blind quizzes; it was thepiano forum that did.
        Also, that was back in December 2002, 4-1/2 years ago, as noted in Wikipedia.
        When the article mentions that the group was "captivated by the player" as well as the playing and then mentions the "terminal cancer" story, we again have the too-easy match of sob-story with initial interest;  however, the cancer was not made known until 2-1/2 years later, in August 2005 when Richard Dyer wrote about it for his Hatto discovery article in the Boston Globe.
        Those whose listening was based on the later articles by Dyer or by the other critics who became interested, were likely influenced by the cancer back-story.  The Hatto recordings interest had been built for the first 2.5 years without that angle, however, despite the mantra constantly chanted.
        The main draw for some time was that ONE person was producing, it was said, a massive pianistic output of consistently high quality whether or not the pianistic approach to some composers pleased or not.  It was of interest that the output was by someone who was in her mid-70's and whose name was unknown to us.  While there was one brief note in 2003 about some ill health in a generalized way, it was ignored, without questions posted.
        Having said that, the article by Rod ("Roddy") Williams is an entertaining read, very well-written, and has a certain generosity of spirit open to varying points of view.  There is also a very interesting interview and report of a day with Barrington-Coupe that elicits a rare moment of honesty that is really quite startling.   Perhaps WB-C's guard was down after a long nostalgic day with a guest who is himself a pianist.  Nevertheless, the article finds WB-C back in usual form later, explaining how weak Hatto was in the last days (no doubt very true) but followed by the inevitable expansive descriptions of her then tackling music that would drain the energy of the youngest pianist in full-health.  The online version includes a postscript with very interesting information from Farhan Malik, who has done extensive comparisons and analysis on the Hatto CDs and documented the results.  Recommended.

  • The RMCR posting by a "Seth Horus" that was said to be a question that "broke the story" of the hoax and has been used on a few occasions to 'show' that a new Hatto-listener could tell what the critics couldn't (that it couldn't be the same pianist playing Prokofiev and Mozart -- one of the strangest examples I can imagine because they should sound wholly different -- was made by someone who has regularly used the same unique Internet address(es) (publicly visible) used by a very active regular RMCR poster who apparently was not free to post this guess under his own name.  My theory (see details below) has been that the work by CHARM, though not officially announced, was becoming known to collectors and shared and, although CHARM itself was hesitant to release the matches due to legal worries, some who heard were eager that it come out.
        I'm fascinated by the levels of intrigue in all of this story.
  • Farhan Malik's waveform comparisons for Ghindin's Rachmaninov transcriptions vs Hatto's are available for viewing now.
    The Rachmaninov-Mendelssohn Scherzo that Ghindin recorded was sped up about 4.23%, and the "Hatto" ends 12 seconds earlier, on a 4 minute piece. Much of the draw of that old 'Hatto' track was that it was done very lightly/deftly within the tempo chosen.  The difference should be somewhat noticeable, and the Ghindin original would sound a bit more cautious and deliberate then.  However, I liked his handling of the elements in general and would like to hear the effect of the difference on perception of the playing in that 12-seconds-longer one.  If someone uploads this from the no-longer available CD, I'll post that information here.  Aug. 8
  • Alexander Ghindin (aka Guindin), whose audio sample of the Rachmaninov-Mendelssohn Scherzo (subtly played with silvery-lightness) was instrumental in the Hatto interest in Dec. '02 and is therefore included at the bottom of this page for some time now, has won the 2007 Cleveland International Piano Competition this weekend.  Details are at the link provided but includes that "It was immediately apparent that the 30-year-old Ghindin had something special to offer, something separating him from his 30 competition colleagues."  The prize is $50,000, an Alice Tully Hall recital, a Naxos CD, and guaranteed engagements worth ~$100k.  The audio link below takes you to a page for the Rachmaninov CD now "out of print."  I'm glad he's getting recognition now. More details (1)  (2)  (3) by Donald Rosenberg on his playing at the event.  And here is a bio for Ghindin.  Aug 8.
  • Farhan Malik, who has a new excellent and thorough Hatto CD resource has found that Hatto's Debussy Vol. 3 and Le plus que lente (sped up 7.6% or 23 seconds!) from Vol 2 are taken from Noriko Ogawa's BIS recording.
      In the same thread (and in others), Robert von Bahr of BIS mentions that Barrington-Coupe was, in an earlier life, Barrington-Cooper.  July 30
  • Farhan Malik also does a fascinating analysis on the Liszt Hexameron with the switched use of 3 pianists for a work that enlisted 6 composers, one for each variation.  Malik offered on July 30 a download of this "Hatto" piece so that listeners could follow along using his posted guide to see where the edits and switching points occur and whether one could tell.  Though the file time had expired, he's uploaded the 21-meg file again after getting more requests. But the file is available only until Aug 14 or so.  Basic info from RMCR posting, July 30.
  • July 3, 2007 - Farhan Malik has announced in his Yahoogroup Pianophiles that he's fully identified the performers responsible for the rightfully widely praised Brahms Paganini Variations, a much sought-after identification.  This has been publicly re-posted in rec.music.classical.recordings Usenet newsgroup.
        Essentially, the bulk of the variations are taken from Lilya Zilberstein's recording on DG, except that Evgeny Kissin on BMG plays Variations 5 in both books and Matti Raekallio on Ondine plays Variations 10, 12 and 13 in Book I and Variations 11-13 in Book 2.  Many thanks to Farhan for the work on this.
  • June '07 - Searches for actual pianists continue: here are the latest explorations and results, including an un-identification, discussed in June at Usenet's rec.music.classical.recordings newsgroup:
    "UN-identification of Klara Kormendi's Debussy CD on Naxos as source for the Hatto, checked and verified by Christopher Howell -- Discs 8.550253 and 8.553279 were checked for approach to rubato, pedalling, broken chords, etc.
    Added identifications announced by Farhan Malik, via MrT.
    • First 18 of the Chopin Waltzes are played by Arthur Lima on Pro Arte 177
      Final 2 waltzes are played by Jerzy Sterczynski on a Selene CD.  The Ecossaises is not being explored for now.
      In the E minor posthumous waltz - "the opening 8 measures are not played by either Moreira-Lima or Stercynski, but it's Moreira-Lima from measure 9 onward !  There is no time stretching on any track on this 2004 CD.
          While the Arthur Lima is not available for purchase, Alan Cooper has made available a Zip'd set of the Hatto set of waltzes for download.
    • Hatto Anthology of Concert Encores:   (1) "The Paderewski Minuet in G is played by Balozs Szokolay from Naxos Romantic Piano Favourites volume 3.   (2) "The Sinding Rustle of Spring is played by Peter Nagy from Naxos Romantic Piano Favourites volume 4.   (3) "The Balakirev Islamey is played by Michele Campanella on Nuova Era 9708017513599, rec. 1989."
    • The Pictures at an Exhibition set by Campanella on that Nuova Era is the source for the Hatto, confirmed by Christoper Howell.
      The Haydn Fantasia and Schubert Waltzes Nobles Op.77 Nos. 8-12 are not being researched by Malik.
    • See the thread linked to see the different versions of the Hatto Beethoven volume 6, with John O'Conor the source of most of it, but not all.
    More identifications:  Debussy preludes CACD 9130-2 and Brahms shorter pieces CACD 9030-2,9031-2 (very complicated, read the thread though).
     Also, Christopher Howell has found that Chopin Mazurkas issued on cassette in 1993 are also by Indjic
        Hatto herself?  Christopher also thinks that Hatto may have played on two cassettes examined - the Brahms op 117 on FED4-TC-098 and the Chopin Piano Concerto 2 with the Hamburg Chamber Orchestra (real) conducted by "Rene Kohler," a possible "normal" pseudonym in the beginning.  See the thread for Christopher's description of the playing and other info.
        The Debussy Etudes are not Thollier's but are from Margit Rahkonen's set on Finlandia 4509-9558-1-2.
        Robert von Bahr of BIS adds more about the futility, as he sees it, of attempting a court proceeding on this.
  • A thread on Bryce Morrison's review of Bronfman about 14 years ago vs his review of Bronfman as Hatto.  People can have different reactions after so many years (that's my view), but the curious point not mentioned in the RCMR post is that Morrison felt he had not reviewed any identified Hatto-pianist recordings but had, in '92.  However, the Bronfman was not findable on Gramophone's online reviews-database Feb. 16 because his review of three pianists playing Rachmaninov included review headers for the other pianists but not for Bronfman.  The discussion on this can be found at Pianophiles yahoogroup.
  • Updated - My summary of the actual type of suspicions existing before Feb. 15, vs the Globe & Mail story.  Updated May 30
  • WHY?  Possible motivations for this hoax - a few thoughts today.  May 22
  • Discussion of Newsweek articles, at RMCR (the rec.music.classical.recordings Usenet newsgroup, via Google Groups archive interface).
        This includes a re-look at the discussion of the oddities of the original "results" available on Gracenote when the Liszt Transcendental Etudes disc labeling was discovered by Brian Ventura.  Was the Itunes/Gracenote info set up FOR discovery by someone wanting the truth to come out at a time when fears of lawsuit caused some to hesitate?
        See, also, updated notes on some who seemed to know earlier and may have been understandably eager to put an end to the hoax.
  • "Grand Piano Theft" - Newsweek interviews Barrington-Coupe in his home - May 19, 2007 (May 28th issue), by Esther Bintliff
  • "To Catch a Thief" - Newsweek story on digital sleuthing that exposed the fraud - May 19 (May 28 issue), by Brian Braiker
  • New pianist-identifications and a piece played by two pianists - A report of Farhan Malik's findings including: "The slow introduction of the Krakowiac is taken from Biret's Naxos recording. Then it abruptly switches to Garrick Ohlsson's recording for the fast section."
        Included also are "un-identifications" - recordings thought to be by one pianist, heard by ear, found not to be the same with further listening.
        Also, there have been reports for awhile that some editions appear to use different pianist recordings, some having all Laszlo Simon, some substituting Nojima in one or two pieces, etc., and now it seems that some have received discs with a specific O'Connor Beethoven sonata while others, a disc with this sonata performed by another pianist.
  • Follow up interview Feb 19 '07 discussing ABOVE interviewer's reaction to the news and to William Barrington_Coupe.  Very dramatic.  Radio New Zealand will keep this in the archives.
  • A half-hr BBC radio "Front Row" broadcast on the Hatto story includes fascinating interviews with many, and audio samples aplenty, including an early Hollywood themes extract by Hatto.  They use some clips from Murray Khouri's 1-hr interview broadcast and read some reviews from the the time.  More to the point, at minute 22:10 it includes BIS's Robert von Bahr's confirmation that in a private letter from Barrington-Coupe, the latter admitted to taking "whole recordings" (mentioned in a Chicago Tribune article Feb. 28 also but no longer available for free).   Vernon Handley talks (09:25) of hearing her play and thinking "... well, this was a tremendous talent" but hoped, even "with marvelous fingers" she could "get around this highly difficult work" at a time when she didn't have great experience at playing with orchestra so he found it very difficult to stay with her.  Almost lost is the BBC comment that Handley had found WB-C an "efficient fixer."
        They also have interviews with two past adult pupils who praise her for what she was able to get out of them (08:10).  Record collector Bob Snow talks about finding a used Mozart recording by "Hatto," subsequently googling her and winding up with 2 years of cd purchases and about 1200 emails with the company, which claimed to have 32 people working there and 4 locations, with 13 'signatories' emailing with him! Apr 6.
  • Liszt: Verdi transcriptions - Salve Maria and Reminiscences (Simon Boccanegra) are played by Alberto Reyes.   Announced in Pianophiles yahoogroup (Yahoo membership required to view) by Farhan Malik and reported in RMCR newsgroup by MrT.
  • In Pianophiles, Farhan Malik also announces that he has a copy of the Liszt Transcendental Etudes which are entirely Laszlo Simon, rather than with two tracks by Nojima, and Christopher Howell reports that his copy has all but one by Simon while one is by Nojima.  It seems that Barrington-Coupe may have been fulfilling orders on-demand via mix & match :-) depending on mood.
  • A person purporting to be a former pupil of Hatto has written a piece for On an Overgrown Path. Mar. 12, 2007.   The blog owner feels sure about the identity of the writer, though that doesn't confirm the history given.  Chris Howell is understandably suspicious, along with others of us.
  • A less-seen MusicWeb forum note by Christopher Howell from February 21 concerns his warranted suspicion now, that the influential Burnett James article may be bogus as well. That would leave most of the early history in doubt.
        Also there are two more letters from WB-C in March and May 2005 that seem, to Howell, defensive.
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for Joyce Hatto - by Phil Glatz -- The most entertaining speculation I've read, on how the hoax activities might have started and why, written only a week after the news hit.
  • Hatto CD identifications: Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 1; some preludes;  Chopin Sonata No. 1 and the 4 Rondos.
  • Conjecture and hunts - Chopin Waltz pianist-search discussion.  Also, the Waltzes are temporarily posted as a download (97 meg zip fle) in a call for matches, at DataBus, and the posting notice links to the audio file extracted from the now-unavailable CD; the forum member who uploaded it hopes to find the actual pianist(s) in order to purchase CDs by the person(s).
  • Tangential: The Paul Procopolis identity
  • Tangential: April-fooled by ClassicsToday :-)
  • Retread of Hatto story and fallout' by Julian Lloyd Webster for The Telegraph.  Nothing new here, digest-style.  April 4
  • April Fool's Day Shenanigans:  Hilarious spoof by Christopher Howell for MusicWeb, and the Jed Distler one for ClassicsToday which fooled many on the music forums.
  • *Back* - Radio New Zealand report with a brief, previously unheard portion of interview with Joyce Hatto describing her husband's ability to identify any pianist he hears.  This report interprets Barrington-Coupe's statements as admitting to ultimately stealing whole pieces by others but using slight time-stretching techniques on them.  I have to listen again, but the part about Hatto saying she didn't herself listen much does not seem to be in this (but I could be wrong and am rushing out).
  • Hatto Debbusy Etudes not Thollier - Christopher Howell, March 19
  • Robert von Bahr of BIS explains his views on Hatto theft and legal options. Mar. 19.  Here are earlier expansions of his thoughts on this in response to some sa-cd forum questions, Feb. 28.
  • Further sleuthing:  Scarlatti Vol.4 tracks: a preliminary match by Seth Adelman, in listening tests.  Maria Tipo in one case and several pianists from Naxos recordings for the rest.  Of added interest is the usual choice of 'minimally interpreted' performances "without a strong personal style" and Adelman's added information on the other pianists' approaches to Scarlatti.
        Earlier preliminary matching (and corrections) by Adelman: Vol.1;   Vol. 2;   Vol. 3.  Included in all are observations on Barrington Coupe's odder choices, and descriptions of pianistic approaches on the original CDs.
    An actual (early) Hatto recording:  the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 2, on Cadenza CD with George Hurst and the Pro Musica Symphony Orchestra, matches the earlier Hatto on Saga, verified by David Gideon, with temporary upload by Derek Lim.
  • Michael Monroe throws clear, cold water on a trite headline that asked the obvious.  And adds a bit more on the subject.  I like that he doesn't regurgitate the cloned 'think' pieces quick-tossed by so many mainstream newspaper staffers.  He also has some interesting, original thoughts on the Hatto debacle.
  • The Hatto Sonnets - by Michael Monroe, thanks to the Boston Globe today.
  • Just a recap of how Gramophone handled the story
  • Tangential:  1) Bronfman's view of the pirating of his Rachmaninov - Mar. 9, 2007 (extract-only now -- Jul. 24 '07),  2) Brendel's take on the situation and everything else - Mar. 11, 2007
  • Reported communications from Joyce Hatto and William Barrington-Coupe:  1) Report of a handwritten note by Hatto, with autographed Brahms Concerto CD); 2) Peter Lemken posts May 1, 2006 Barrington-coupe invitation by email.   3) an additional quote from the earlier March 4 invitation referenced in that note.
  • Chicago Tribune: Reviewers not to blame?  When the article is no longer available, see HighBeam for access.
    Tangential articles: 1) Chicago Tribune on
    the 'creative lying' of the modern recording aesthetic;   2) MusicWeb on what might be done   3) Gracenote's Classical Music Initiative
  • The Times interviews Barrington-Coupe in his home.  This was March 4 and included writer Ann McFerran's report that 'By the mid1990s Barrington-Coupe was presenting other people’s work as his wife’s as a matter of course. “It’s the old thing,” he says. “If you’ve killed someone once it’s easy to do it the second time, so in the end you kill ceaselessly. It wasn’t easy but God gave me a good ear.”'
        While there's no quote from Barrington-Coupe in this article about his taking entire recordings, his analogy for what he did do is certainly eye-brow raising.
  • Norman Lebrecht on the ease of faking a classical record due to "the proliferation of the same works by different artists ... With the exception of the occasional genius, few of these records ever betray much originality or can be told apart by the naked ear. That spells paradise for a potential hoaxer." March 3
  • Long overview by Globe and Mail.  March 3.  It confuses the chronology, though, saying Hatto played and toured until 1976 when ovarian cancer stopped her, but the writer immediately follows this with Hatto "retreating to a studio" where she "began a love affair" with Barrington-Coupe.  They were actually married in 1956.
        It also attributes skepticism 'surrounding" Hatto to people hearing resemblances to other recordings.
        The article is now available only for $.
    _______________   (My comments below were updated May 30.)
       There was plenty of skepticism, but it was largely based on sudden and voluminous, high-powered output by one person, playing complete sets of everyone, at a high level, especially a woman in her 70s fighting cancer and pain, once the cancer was announced July 2005 by Richard Dyer.
        One rumor was that a group of unknown musicians (Hatto students, some suggested) were pulling a trick on critics, pooling their varied abilities under the name of Hatto.  Also, one listener (Peter Lemken) noticed the elaborately purple biography of a conductor Rene Kohler for whom there was no history whatsoever.  Lemken suspected more of a Music Minus One operation and superb editing systems rather than what he termed the 'cheap' truth delivered Feb. 15.
        Only on January 22, 2007 did someone, a politely puzzled Seth Horus, posting from Spain at the time, appear on the Usenet Newsgroup RMCR forum to ask why a pianist sounded so different in Mozart, Prokofiev, and Albeniz (the pieces require very different pianistic approaches for one thing) and wondering if there was a hoax, but his posts for 5 years, except for one week in September, have been manually deleted from the Google archive [Update: 8/6/07 - the missed-week has been deleted also for whatever reason, since the summarizing here], though some can still be read if they were quoted by someone else at the time. .
    Update: 8/13/07 - The reason for the deletions is clearer in that the cablemodem used (publicly visible information) by now-invisible Seth Horus has been matched to a very active regular RMCR poster who apparently didn't want to use his own name, possibly due to early word and promises of confidentiality until more could be proved, since the active poster is never hesitant to post his own conjecture.
        Seth Horus requested, one day after the hoax was announced, that regulars who had been admiring of Hatto recordings leave the group (forum).
        Another person, newly posting to the group (and disappearing after 5 days), Simon Lasso, UK, (a play on the Laszlo Simon name?) predicted on the evening of Feb 15 there (afternoon in the US),  1/2 hour before Andrew of Pristine Audio in France broke the news to the newsgroup, "Some of you are going to be looking very silly indeed over the coming weeks."
        He also posted that first day that Barrington-Coupe had been in legal trouble before and said this would be corroborated, although The Daily Mail story on this did not appear until Feb. 24.
        There's quite a bit of intrigue in this story.  My take is that people who had heard in advance about the work being done to investigate the recordings might have been rightfully upset about the hoax and wanted to say something earlier than later.
        Irony remains in that the actual recordings used by Concert Artists get no small admiration by most who'd been skeptical in the past about the enthusiasm for the playing in general.
        In the meantime, CHARM (see Reference section) -was- working on the Mazurka project, with someone noting similarities between Indjic's recording and Hatto's, but she was not "surrounded" with that particular suspicion "late in her career" - plenty of suspicion, yes.  Most of the skeptical were shocked by the actual truth, which went beyond even their wildest expectations.
  • Paul Kim and others respond to Denis Dutton's NY Times Opinion piece, which has been well received.  See also Dutton's more direct take on Joyce Hatto's involvement, and check out the Arts & Letters Daily, for which he is editor; it's a favorite bookmark of mine.
  • The Guardian, on effects and implications of the hoax - Mar. 2
  • Chicago Tribune, with several more quotes from husband's letter to von Bahr - Feb. 28
  • Boston Globe A Boston Globe follow-up with more quotes from Dyer and Handley - the latter was more breathlessly positive about Hatto's solo playing when interviewed for a radio broadcast in 2005.  It makes me wonder about "going with the flow."
  • Intro to story about the confession and excellent synopsis with more details and comments from Richard Dyer, the BSO artistic administrator and others while also including a quote from Barrington-Coupe's letter to Von Bahr that I haven't seen elsewhere about giving his wife the finished editing to hear as her own. Feb. 27
  • Information from consulting radiologist and an expanded quote from Von Bahr about Barrington-Coupe's situation.  The Independent, Feb. 26. Very interesting report.
  • Associated Press (via Concord Monitor) - Summary of husband's justifications in letter to von Bahr - Feb. 28
  • Radio New Zealand report with a brief, previously unheard portion of interview with Joyce Hatto talking about her husband's ability to identify any pianist he hears.  This report interprets Barrington-Coupe's statements as admitting to ultimately stealing whole pieces by others but using slight time-stretching techniques on them.   TEMPORARY but extendable
  • David Hurwitz of Classics Today opines on Barrington-Coupe's words this week
  • BBC report - a rehash of what's been said already but with a picture of a young Joyce Hatto taken from one at NPR
        and another rehash, by Washington Post - Feb. 27
        Also, Earthlink News quotes Robert von Bahr re the confession letter
        Seattle Post-Intelligence summarizes with prime links including one to this page.
  • The Telegraph quotes Barrington-Coupe - Feb. 26, Martin Beckford
  • I did it for my wife" - Letter from Barrington-Coupe to BIS's Robert von Bahr.   von Bahr's earlier official statement for BIS.
  • Independent (UK) story, with many writer errors and nonsensical statements by WC-B
  • NY Times, mainly just quoting Gramophone - Alan Riding - Feb. 27
  • NY Times - Denis Dutton - Excellent overview - Feb. 26
  • Wall St. Journal - Feb. 26 - Interesting article, though they don't mention that the Simon ID on Gracenote had the record label listed as "Concert Artists."
  • Daily Mail digs for details - Feb 24
  • Jeremy Nicholas on his meeting with Hatto last year
  • William Hedley re his reviews and resulting notes for a Concert Artists disc
  • Thoughts, Questions and Letters - by Christopher Howell, MusicWeb
    (noted here earlier, but updates continue there). Feb. 7
  • The Telegraph: CD scandal husband tells of criminal past" - Feb. 25.
  • Boston Globe story - David Weininger (no word from R. Dyer yet)
  • Alex Ross's "Hattogate" update (New Yorker's music critic), Feb. 23.  Mentions this page.
  • TIME Magazine - "The British Phonographic Industry has begun an investigation"
  • Washington Post - by Mike Musgrove - Feb. 22  (A copy here also.)
  • NPR audio - Feb 22
        From a few days ago?, as Gramophone still had the iTunes-Distler-discovery story wrong. This is an interview with James Inverne of Gramphone and Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio and includes an audio sample of a segment of the Rachmaninof piano concerto 3rd played simultaneously from the Bronfman CD and the "Hatto" CD of this work.
  • Norman Lebrecht - Feb 21
  • MusicWeb statement by Len Mullenger with photo of William Barrington-Coupe - Feb. 19
  • The Telegraph: What the critis said - Feb. 18
  • ClassicsToday editorial by Jed Distler and David Hurwitz - Feb. 17
    with more info on the discovery, implications and more conjecture - Feb. 18
  • "My wife's virtuoso recordings are genuine" - Telegraph (UK) Feb. 20 (!) Unreal.  This one has another photo of William Barrington-Coupe.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer - David Stearns. "The Mozart Requiem syndrome" theory.
        If that link fails, it's also featured at popmatters, interestingly.
  • The International Herald Tribune-Europe story (Distler discovery)
  • The NY Times (essentially IHT story above)
  • The Times Online (UK) Feb. 17
  • The Telegraph (UK) Critic's "impolite to look ill" misattributed to Hatto
  • Playbill Arts
  • Stereophile by Wes Phillips - Feb. 17
  • New Scientist and Slashdot and the UK's The Register picked up this classical-music story, though these are just brief summaries with no new info. - Feb. 20
  • Added Christopher Howell's letters from Hatto in response to caveats in his reviews of her Mozart.
  • True Crime's Steve Huff adds his sleuthing abilities, wading in for now.
Web music-forum reactions at the time:

Key articles and interviews (online) before February 15, 2007:
"Music-hunting was her thing, not note-spinning." - Ates Orga, for MusicWeb, St. Cecilia's Day, 2005
The Recordings - Ates Orga, for MusicWeb St. Cecilia's Day, 2005
After recording 119 CDs, a hidden jewel comes to light - by Richard Dyer, Boston Globe, Aug. 21, 2005
Fascinating interview at MusicWeb (1973) - Burnett James
Christopher Howell's memos from Joyce Hatto in response to caveats in his interesting Mozart-set reviews
ClassicsToday reviews

ADDITIONAL HISTORY.  (Updates will be above.)
News was received that Joyce Hatto died on June 29, 2006
The seemingly supernaturally gifted Joyce Hatto -- that combination of amazing technique and musicality, energy, intellect, sensitivity, clarity, and sheer willpower in her 70s -- was reported to have lost her long struggle against cancer, the unpredictable nature of which had kept her from concertizing for the last 30+ years but which didn't, we were told, end her recording activities until now.  And there's little argument that the music, which actually had been made by others, was of a high caliber indeed.  The reputation was built on one person being able to play complete sets of everything, against all odds, while there were rumors that this must be a group of musicians scamming the music world.  Half-true.  The other musicians didn't know they were involved.

Joyce Hatto's husband of over 50 years, William Barrington-Coupe, had been the force behind her own force, it was explained to us, in preserving for us her ideas in the most varied recorded repertoire we could imagine (or not), superbly performed.  While there can always be some disagreement with this or that approach, in an audience of varied tastes, it was generally agreed among those who normally disagree on performers. that the recordings of a huge range of music were unusual in their consistently high quality, with many of these considered among the finest readings recorded.

Here are online versions of remembrances written July-Aug '06, which serve as history of what now clearly must be a hoax of gigantic, unreal proportions. The tracks "chosen" by Barrington-Coupe (?) were similar in their reliance on clarity, non-flamboyant readings, focus on structure, and usually superb technique (though we now know that some tracks were sped up without changing pitch to give this effect) and always a strong musicality. :

. The Times (UK) - July 26, 2006 (Added 7/20/07)
. The Independent - by Ates Org, Aug. 14
. The Telegraph - July 28 (substantial length)
. The Guardian - by Jeremy Nicholas, July 10
. Ates Orga, for MusicWeb, July 6
. Gramophone - by Bryce Morrison, July 5
. The Boston Globe - Richard Dyer, July 4
. BBC Music Magazine
. Ivan Davis' Tribute - includes Richard Dyer's unabridged obituary.
      (Ivan Davis, a much-admired pianist rather than a music critic, appears to have
        collected many of Hatto's recordings (reported by R. Dyer).

The full Liszt Mephisto Waltz was released on the CD pictured above.  We were told she was 71 when she recorded this and had been continuing to record her unusually extensive repertoire which would challenge younger pianists today, and later was said to have continued until approximately 3 weeks before she died.

    A british pianist whose output was highly respected by other pianists who knew of her, what most amazed was the availability of 100+ CDs listed for her at the UK's Crotchet store online at the time.

For the curious, the excerpt by "Hatto" has now been identified (Sept. 18) as played by Janina Fialkowska.

Sound file:  A 96kbps file - downloadable which can also stream on some systems
    Liszt Mephisto-Waltz segment

There was also interest in "Hatto"'s Mendelssohn-Rachmaninov Midsummer Night's Dream at that time, which you can download or stream from this site.  It was identified Feb. 20, 2008 as played by Alexander Guindin (also Ghindin), winner of the 2007 Cleveland International Piano Competition, on Track 12 of the disk shown on Alapage.
    As mentioned above, Farhan Malik has shown that this 'Hatto' version is sped up 4.23% and ends 12 seconds earlier, on a 4 minute piece, which will change perception of the performance somewhat ***

If you have a question or more information, do use the guestbook.
Additional info, corrections, suggestions, welcomed!

Guestbook for Computer, Music, and Travel pages.


mp3 file credit: Concert Artist/Fidelio Recordings, via Ernst Lumpe, who also believed the story and was trying to help.

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