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Thread: Joyce Hatto CDs

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Default Joyce Hatto CDs

    I have become fascinated with the bizarre story of Joyce Hatto, her husband William Barrington-Coupe, and their phony record label. Does anyone know where I can find the original Concert Artist CDs from this legendary charlatan? Have they all been completely removed from the market in the wake of this scandal being exposed? I can't seem to find one anywhere. I want one more or less just for the novelty of it.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Jan-19-2020 at 17:40.

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I have become fascinated with the bizarre story of Joyce Hatto, her husband William Barrington-Coupe, and their phony record label. Does anyone know where I can find the original Concert Artist CDs from this legendary charlatan? Have they all been completely removed from the market in the wake of this scandal being exposed? I can't seem to find one anywhere. I want one more or less just for the novelty of it.
    I'd never heard of this. Now I have.

    Googled her and found an astonishing story. I read two different accounts (one being, of course, Wikipedia), and they varied in minor details. One said the initial clue was a misreading of a piano chord that was identical to another artist's recording. The other said it was the "Siri, what song is this" feature that identified one of her recordings being, in fact, someone else's.

    I also found it interesting that the pirated recordings of other artists were 'altered' by stretching, compressing, re-EQ-ing those recordings to make them sound different, and how different tracks on the releases might be from different recordings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianozach View Post
    I'd never heard of this. Now I have.

    Googled her and found an astonishing story. I read two different accounts (one being, of course, Wikipedia), and they varied in minor details. One said the initial clue was a misreading of a piano chord that was identical to another artist's recording. The other said it was the "Siri, what song is this" feature that identified one of her recordings being, in fact, someone else's.

    I also found it interesting that the pirated recordings of other artists were 'altered' by stretching, compressing, re-EQ-ing those recordings to make them sound different, and how different tracks on the releases might be from different recordings.
    This part is what got me – how did none of these critic "experts" catch on when one track would sound like one pianist and the next would sound like another, on a completely different piano? But if you read the critical reviews (they're all over Musicweb etc.), she was flooded with nothing but the highest praise. It's mind blowing.

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Well, her hubby would evidently often use rather obscure artists and recordings, but some of the concertos featured rather in-your-face conductors and orchestras, which were a bit more difficult to obscure.

    As a producer he was evidently able to alter the recordings enough to sound like they were, perhaps, all from her living room piano I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I have become fascinated with the bizarre story of Joyce Hatto, her husband William Barrington-Coupe, and their phony record label. Does anyone know where I can find the original Concert Artist CDs from this legendary charlatan? Have they all been completely removed from the market in the wake of this scandal being exposed? I can't seem to find one anywhere. I want one more or less just for the novelty of it.
    http://www.farhanmalik.com/hatto/main.html

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by premont View Post
    Yes, I'm familiar with this site and have been referring to it the past couple days. What I'm looking for is somewhere that I can purchase these CDs secondhand. I just want one of them for the morbid fascination of it.

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    Goldbergs here, but I have not seen many of these "Hatto" CDs recently:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Goldbe...s=music&sr=1-5
    Last edited by premont; Jan-20-2020 at 01:05.

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    Quote Originally Posted by premont View Post
    Goldbergs here, but I have not seen many of these "Hatto" CDs recently:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Goldbe...s=music&sr=1-5
    Awesome, thanks! They seem to have really gotten buried. I can't believe how few there are on eBay, Amazon etc. I wonder if there are Hatto collectors out there who buy them up...?

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    My first Hatto was the Messiaen 20 regards, which I bought before the scam was revealed. It is really exceptional. The Prokofiev sonatas too.

    Some of the Chopin remains a great favourite of mine still, the Waltzes and Preludes. And indeed the mazurkas aren’t bad at all.

    In my opinion, the most astonishing thing about the affair is that, as far as I know, Barrington Coupe got away with it completely.


    By the way, it wasn’t the first time he pulled this trick. He’d done the same with some Beethoven recordings wrongly attributed to Sergio Fiorentino , and possibly with his release of Chopin mazurkas by Cortot.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-22-2020 at 17:02.

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    And here’s a real rarity for sale now on ebay, the Scriabin sonatas, which were never officially released. I’m stopping myself buying it - I’m not so interested in the music, or in keeping CDs. But for a collector, this is something to get. There are details on Farhan Malik’s website.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Scriabin-...sAAOSwCqNde-ol


    CAPSULE SUMMARY: This double CD was never officially issued as the Hatto scandal broke before it could come to market. This copy came to light via a private collector who had been buying CDs directly from Concert Artist and apparently received an advance copy. No work has been done yet to identify the performances.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-22-2020 at 17:10.

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    Senior Member Ras's Avatar
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    Here is a link to Wiki's list of the sources of some of the recordings released in Joyce Hatto's name:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_..._their_sources
    "I only have a hunch in what I've become expert." - Leonard Cohen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    My first Hatto was the Messiaen 20 regards, which I bought before the scam was revealed. It is really exceptional. The Prokofiev sonatas too.

    Some of the Chopin remains a great favourite of mine still, the Waltzes and Preludes. And indeed the mazurkas aren’t bad at all.

    In my opinion, the most astonishing thing about the affair is that, as far as I know, Barrington Coupe got away with it completely.


    By the way, it wasn’t the first time he pulled this trick. He’d done the same with some Beethoven recordings wrongly attributed to Sergio Fiorentino , and possibly with his release of Chopin mazurkas by Cortot.
    Yes he did. He was of course a con man and had been in prison for dodgy dealing. He was obviously a talented producer of scams and knew how to manipulate. One of the ironic things was that recordings that had been snubbed by critics when they were first released were praised when released bogusly under Hatto's name. How on earth this going on was swallowed in that it was not just some of the most demanding works from the solo repertoire that were supposedly recorded by a sick woman dying of cancer but concertos too such as the Rach 3. If you had just looked at the woman and her state of health you would have realised that anything beyond a Mozart sonata was probably too much for her at that stage in her life. Yet the critics and 'experts' were taken in by this scam! I did write to the Gramophone editor suggesting that certain of his contributors should consider their position but got no reply. They were probably all too busy trying to cover for each other while der old Barrington-Coupe was laughing his head off. He could of course have been prosecuted for theft and fraud but incredibly no-one did. I think the recording industry was too embarrassed. I know the moss of BISS which recording of Rach 3 was pirated said that no-one had taken any notice of the performance in its original guise and at least Coupe's scam had embarrassed the critics! I have seen a set of 'Hatto's' recordings of Mozart sonatas (they are by Haebler actually) in our second hand record shop.
    Last edited by DavidA; Jan-22-2020 at 21:51.

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    PS the BBC made a biopic written by Victoria Wood called 'Loving Miss Hatto' which is worth seeing. Probably too affectionate but gives background.

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    Not only were the recordings by the actual pianists that Barrington-Coupe stole from given negative to lukewarm reviews (or worse, ignored) before the Hatto scandal, but the majority of British critics that I've read didn't defend or champion these pianists after the scandal broke. Which, in my view, shows about as much integrity and honesty as Barrington-Coupe.

    One exception is the critic Christopher Howell at MusicWebInternational, who stood by his original rave review of Hatto's Debussy, in which he wrote that he preferred her to both Gieseking & Richter, and described Hatto as being "up there with the greats":

    "And yet, if I had to choose just one piece from Hatto’s Debussy (so far) with which to demonstrate that she is up there with the greats, it would be "La Plus que lente". I have several times wrestled with this piece and had more or less concluded that Debussy himself had nodded. The waltz rhythms just didn’t seem to come off, and nothing in Gieseking’s somewhat hasty, unsettled performance convinced me otherwise. Hatto has the secret of it. She just swoons in, really slow and with very free rubato, yet the gently swaying slow waltz is always there. It’s gorgeous! Likewise in "Hommage à Haydn", where the recently-discovered Richter performance found a Prokofiev-like ostinato in the bass-line, Hatto is more gently lilting with a magically singing melodic line. "D’un Cahier d’esquisses", too, sounds more like a masterpiece in its own right than a half-baked idea that didn’t make it into one of the major collections..."

    Howell ends his review by claiming that Hatto's recording will likely become a 'classic version", and marvels that it was made in "a single day"! (which is amusing, since it really is unimaginable that a sick, elderly pianist could pull off such a feat in a single day).

    To his credit, Howell later stood by his Hatto review, when he reviewed the actual recording by pianist Margit Rahkonen (on the Finlandia label), and even recommends Rakhonen's Debussy Etudes over the standard British benchmark for these works, Mitsuko Uchida (as do I): http://www.musicweb-international.co...4509955811.htm. However, the second time around Howell isn't quite so effusive, as least not to the same degree that he was in his prior review, when he thought the pianist was Joyce Hatto: http://www.musicweb-international.co..._CACD91312.htm. Howell's two reviews are the only instance that I've seen where a British critic openly defended and stuck by their pre-scandal review, which makes Howell more or less an anomaly among the British critics that were duped by Barrington-Coupe. I wonder, are there any other examples that I may have missed?

    In addition, the scandal demonstrates two other negative aspects about the British music critics at the time: First, how poorly they actually listened to the recordings they were reviewing. For example, Margit Rakhonen's playing is clearly not that of an elderly, sick woman in a wheelchair, but rather that of a young, vibrant, and technically gifted pianist, which Rahkonen was at the time. Barrington-Coupe even sped up one or two of the etudes on Rakhonen's recording, which makes Hatto's technique sound even more astonishing for an elderly woman to pull off. Granted, it's easy to hear these things now with the advantage of hindsight, but they are obvious.

    Secondly, it shows how biased the British critics are towards UK (and UK based) musicians, or at least were at the time; which isn't news on this side of Atlantic, since I've encountered many complaints over the years about this so-called "British bias"--which does, I believe, exist to some extent within the pages of Gramophone, BBC Magazine, and the old Penguin Guide. Yet the Hatto scandal was the one time where the British critics actually got caught out in their bias, and in a very public & embarrassing way: considering that virtually none of the pianists that Barrington-Coupe used had previously received such glowing reviews--that is, prior to the emergence of Joyce Hatto as one of "the greats". Nor, in most cases, did these pianists receive glowing reviews after the scandal broke, either. I've seen it argued that the critics's simply got their hearts tugged or rather played by Barrington-Coupe--that they had a soft spot for the very idea of an elderly woman in a wheelchair being able to play the piano so incredibly well, & there may be some truth to that. However, it doesn't excuse the obvious bias at play here.

    And yet, as I've written before, I don't have a problem with the British music critics expressing such a strong, heartfelt advocacy and devotion towards their own native musicians. On the contrary, I think it's a beneficial thing for the nurturing, development, and survival of British musical culture. There's also the health of the British recording industry to consider, which unquestionably needs such rave reviews to stay in existence & remain commercially viable.

    I only wish that such a strong bias existed here in the states, where our finest talents are often ignored rather than adequately acknowledged & celebrated for their gifts. In the past, American classical musicians even had to go to Europe in order to first make a name for themselves, before they could be accepted in their native land. Which is a sad commentary on American culture. So, the opposite of such a forlorn culture is indeed to be preferred; even if I do occasionally feel duped when I find that I've bought yet another average to 'middle of the road' performance that received a BBC monthly plaudit or a year end Gramophone award.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Feb-01-2020 at 00:22.

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    Izumi Tateno’s Debussy preludes are hammerless (and partly for that reason, not a favourite of mine.) She did the Hatto ones.

    Not one critic noticed the Mozart sonatas, by Haebler. Maybe more surprising is that no one noticed that some of the Godowsky etudes are Hamelin’s. It took a certain chutzpah to steal the Hamelin! I think you’re right to say that these people don’t listen, they’re too blasé to listen.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-01-2020 at 10:37.

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