It seems that even the lofty heights of classical music are subject to plagiarism and fraud.
If you own any piano music recordings by Joyce Hatto which were made from 1989 onwards, it seems they aren’t by her at all.
Denis Dutton writes in the International Herald Tribune:
Responding to a tip from a reader, a critic with the British Gramophone magazine, Jeremy Distler, slid Joyce Hatto’s CD of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes into his computer. His iTunes library, linked to a catalogue of about four million CDs, immediately identified it as a recording by the Hungarian virtuoso Laszlo Simon.
Since then, further analysis by both professional sound engineers and piano recording enthusiasts across the globe has pushed toward the same conclusion: the entire Joyce Hatto oeuvre recorded from 1989 on appears to be stolen from the CDs of other pianists. The experts have yet to discover a single original CD in the set. It is a scandal unparalleled in the annals of classical music.
The music was as good as the critics said, but none of it was played by Joyce. She and her recording-engineer husband, William Barrington-Coupe, systematically stole the output of other pianists and orchestras and passed it off as hers, releasing it on their tiny independent label “Concert Artist”.
Gramophone has covered the same story in brief, with a promise of more detailed coverage in the April issue and a link to a website where the soundwaves of a few recordings have been compared to the Hatto versions.
As the International Herald Tribune article puts it:
Hatto usually targeted artists who were not household names, though on the basis of the reviews she received, they richly deserve to be.
I don’t think we own any of her recordings, but I look forward to hearing more about the artists who have been plagiarised and to buying more of their output.