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Thread: Classical music's biggest charlatan

  1. #46
    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    Why would this be? Her collaborations with Hilary Hahn are highly acclaimed from what I've read..
    Some people dislike her due to her politics; others dislike her due to how she has a YouTube channel.

    I enjoy her playing.
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
    --Anonymous

    アルバート セブン

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    All music critics, not just Bryce Morrison. But apart from those, close your eyes and dream of the good old days of nazism whilst you conduct the BPO Karajan. Or I really want to be a great composer when I grow up Bernstein.

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    Junior Member Michael Sayers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnaboutVox View Post
    No, but I could start with someone...

    Rosemary Isabel Brown (1916 – 2001) was an English composer, pianist and spirit medium who claimed that dead composers dictated new musical works to her. I remember the fuss made about her in the mid-70's. She certainly fooled some people, though maybe herself too as she seemed genuinely to believe that dead composers dictated works to her. Now there was someone who wanted to 'be' Beethoven, or rather, Liszt!

    Here's her obituary:
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2001...dianobituaries
    I don't consider Rosemary Brown to be a charlatan. This doesn't imply that I think her claims about her compositional processes are true - I don't have an opinion on that in either direction - but that the sketch-like compositions are of interest. Some of them have ideas that the claimed composers could have improved upon and expanded on to create very nice compositions. For instance, if I had found out elsewhere about the music in the link below and had read that it was a sketch by Liszt which had been discovered and which was for some ideas that would have been made into a third piano Legend, I would buy it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdPQj4pXovQ


    Mvh,
    Michael

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert7 View Post

    I enjoy her playing.
    She plays herself, not music. Music is not anywhere near.

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    Moderator TurnaboutVox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Sayers View Post
    I don't consider Rosemary Brown to be a charlatan. This doesn't imply that I think her claims about her compositional processes are true - I don't have an opinion on that in either direction - but that the sketch-like compositions are of interest. Some of them have ideas that the claimed composers could have improved upon and expanded on to create very nice compositions. For instance, if I had found out elsewhere about the music in the link below and had read that it was a sketch by Liszt which had been discovered and which was for some ideas that would have been made into a third piano Legend, I would buy it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdPQj4pXovQ


    Mvh,
    Michael
    Charlatan, n: A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud.

    Regardless of her compositional skill (which I'm not in a position to judge, being a musical layman) she attempted to pass off the works she produced as dictated to her by the spirits of dead composers, rather than the fruits of her own skill and effort.

    Unless the universe operates by different rules to those established by scientific research (viz., the impossibility of dead ex-human beings dictating artistic works posthumously to living ones, the non-reversibility of time etc.) then she was, by the above definition, a charlatan.

    She may have sincerely believed what she claimed, in which case, I concede, she was merely under an illusion. But many people who have been called charlatans were apparently convinced of the truth of the narrative they told.
    Last edited by TurnaboutVox; Jun-14-2015 at 20:28.

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    Junior Member Michael Sayers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnaboutVox View Post
    Charlatan, n: A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud.

    Regardless of her compositional skill (which I'm not in a position to judge, being a musical layman) she attempted to pass off the works she produced as dictated to her by the spirits of dead composers, rather than the fruits of her own skill and effort.

    Unless the universe operates by different rules to those established by scientific research (viz., the impossibility of dead ex-human beings dictating artistic works posthumously to living ones, the non-reversibility of time etc.) then she was, by the above definition, a charlatan.

    She may have sincerely believed what she claimed, in which case, I concede, she was merely under an illusion. But many people who have been called charlatans were apparently convinced of the truth of the narrative they told.
    A claim that someone is a charlatan is a claim about that person's character. To imply that Rosemary Brown was an "Elmer Gantry" goes further than any evidence can support, in my opinion.


    Mvh,
    Michael

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    Sorry to resurrect this ignominious thread, but I rather enjoyed this discussion of musical malpractice since I came across a good example the other day. It seems to me that being a charlatan at the very least requires malevolent deception; in music, that is generally tied with posturing - it is that which in my view does turn Barrington-Coupe into a charlatan, even if there was an altruistic motive too (even if I think that motive was rather exaggerated later).

    The reason I bring this up is that I was recently confronted with the "work" of one Pieter Gabry (1715-1770), a Dutch con man of wide interests, who succeeded in getting appointed to memberships of the Académie Royale des Sciences, and the German Societas Regia Scientiarum and Academia Naturae Curiosorum Leopoldina, despite being proven to fiddle his observations. In addition, he published musical works by others as his own, and was found out when a violinist in a quartet recognized "Gabry's" string quartet as the one by Johann Wilms, which he'd played a few days before.

    Modern versions are probably are José Kaplan, whose "Piano Concerto" at least somewhat reworked Shostakovich' Second PC, or Günter Elsholz, who "produced" (the story is still unclear, I believe) a purportedly "lost" symphony from 1825 by Schubert. There was a recording of that one by the Cincinati PhO under Gerhard Samuel, and it's honestly one of my guilty pleasures, straddling the divide between a competent pastiche and P.D.Q Bach.

    I was tempted to nominate Celibidache as well, but a lot of that cult can't be blamed on the man himself, even if he hardly helped prevent it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Obviously Sebastian Bach. He had this trick of being able to play several tunes at the same time and developed it into some kind of major industry. Everybody still goes "Ooh! Ah!" like this is any better than watching a well-trained performing seal!

    Don't you agree?
    All those Baroque composers were mountebanks, stealing ideas from one another without remorse.

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    Senior Member shirime's Avatar
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    Mamoru Samuragochi

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Definitely Alfred Scholtz, for collecting, bootlegging, stealing (and conducting) many of those budget classical recordings and passing them off under aliases or using better-known conductors' names or the names of his mentors (Eg. Swarovsky). We still don't know who recorded or appeared on nearly half of those recordings that still turn up on budget labels today. No-one knows whether recordings made under the pseudonyms Albert Lizzio, Henry Adolph, Phillipe Duvier, Alexander von Pitamic, George Randolph Warren, Hymisher Greenburg or Cesare Cantieri were him or scratch recordings made / bought / stolen from elsewhere or were major label cast-offs (doubtful) or were composed of Eastern Block scratch orchestras or what. Some of those recordings have been issued many times over with the same recording often being attributed to several conductors. Even poor Nanut and Swarovsky's names were dragged into it and they had nowt to do with the utter charlatan.
    Last edited by Merl; Oct-11-2018 at 17:05.

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    Junior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    Who do you consider the biggest fraud in the history of classical music? I've heard this about a number of people: Schoenberg, Celibidache, Karajan, Horowitz, Stokowski, Glass, Pärt. I wonder, who do you think fooled the classical music public the most?
    My fellow German made some jokes here... Especially this one with Sergiu is the best I ever red in a serious forum, so hilarious I can't stop laughing etc., etc...

    The only charlatan I know and I really like him too much, is Pavel Haas's Charlatan. A very nice opera, with violent story and historical background.

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    Senior Member ArsMusica's Avatar
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    John Cage. Interesting coincidence that "charlatan" is the exact term that a very good friend of mine (a very fine composer) and I used in a discussion about Cage that we had earlier today.
    Last edited by ArsMusica; Oct-20-2018 at 07:51.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    "Italians are all charlatans." --Mozart in a letter to his father


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    Senior Member ArsMusica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    "Italians are all charlatans." --Mozart in a letter to his father
    As someone of 100% Italian descent I resemble that remark!

  18. #60
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArsMusica View Post
    As someone of 100% Italian descent I resemble that remark!
    I have Mozart's e-mail if you want to file a complaint…


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