Amazing Musical Hoax

“Last week, a critic at the Gramophone magazine got surprise when he put a Hatto recording of Lizt’s 12 Transcendental Studies into his computer. The iTunes player identified the disc as being recorded by another pianist, Lászlo Simon. He dug out the Simon album and found it sounded exactly the same as the Hatto one.

iTunes had stumbled on a hoax. To identify albums it calculates a ‘discid’ from the duration of the tracks and then connects to the Compact Disc Database online. The Gramophone critic tried another disc – Hatto playing Rachmaninov – and again iTunes identified it as belonging to someone else. Again, the named recording – by Yefim Bronfman – sounded no different.

Gramophone decided to go to expert audio company Pristine Audio. Their detailed webpage on the Hatto case shows what they found, and lets you listen to the evidence. Examinations of the waveforms of Hatto recordings confirmed what iTunes had suggested. Many are direct copies of other pianist’s work – some are tweaked versions where a recording has simply been slowed down.”

The question is: did Joyce Hatto ever really exist? Or was she a classical Milli Vanilli?

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