Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Notes On a Scandal: Joyce Hatto

For anyone who hasn't heard about the Joyce Hatto scandal, Wikipedia is as good a place as any to get the details; the short version is that the classical music world has been rocked by the discovery that Hatto, a reclusive British pianist who released over 100 CD's on her husband's recording label before dying of cancer last summer, actually took the recordings of other pianists and passed them off as her own. Modern technology has made plagiarism like this very easy to do, but also more possible to detect. Apparently someone stuck one of her discs onto iTunes, and the correct composer -- Liszt -- popped up, but the name of the performer was someone else. A quick check proved that the performances were indeed the same. And now Hatto's husband has confessed. He claims he did it for her, to make sure she got the attention she deserved.

Well, it's hard to know whether to trust a con-man; I might just as easily believe that the motivation here was to pull one over on the classical music establishment.

My first thought was, What a great novel this would be! Unfortunately the Hollywood people are already putting screenwriters on the story, so it will probably be a movie before any writing types get their act together.

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