This morning, (February 27th, 2007) the papers all display plenty of column inches about the 'confession' of William Barrington-Coupe, Joyce Hatto's husband. The Telegraph tells us that, despite Mr Barrington-Coupe's admissions, "Hertfordshire Police said that they would take no action unless the copyright owners of the original recordings made complaints".
I am not convinced.
When Barrington-Coupe writes that the initial impetus to fake was no more than to cover his wife's 'grunts of pain' when trying to re-record the repertoire, this is transparently a stupid play for sympathy.
Any record producer or engineer will tell you that covering small mistakes or extraneous noises is far harder than splicing in a whole separate take. The need to match the ambience means that the smaller the edit, the harder it is, and covering it from a different recording, where the piano, acoustic and microphone placement are all different, is impossible. So the idea that he proceeded from small patches to larger and larger ones is the reverse of what happens in real life in the recording industry. It is on a par with the myth he propagated for her obituaries that 'three weeks before her death, Hatto recorded Beethoven's Les Adieux (farewell- geddit?) sonata sitting at the piano in her wheelchair.'
Much more true to life is Barrington-Coupe's refusal to disclose what is authentic among the recordings (since the inference is likely to be that nothing is authentic) and his plea to be left alone.
But, as von Bahr also said, Barrington-Coupe has already had plenty of time to hide the money.
For full background of the breaking scandal, see: http://www.pristineclassical.com/HattoHoax.html
*Also Christopher Howell at http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2007/Feb07/Hatto_Howell.htm
and watch for comments & further updates... [Editor]
- - the whole thing shows just how much critics are influenced by extramusical considerations. (Of course, most performers realise very quickly that the audience, in part, hear what they see.)