Monday, February 26, 2007

Hooray for Hatto

Here's the funny thing about the Hatto scandal. Although it's pretty clear that her husband is simply a scam-artist who is probably incapable of being truly honest, this remarkable scandal has really been a good thing. Not just something fun to write and blog about, but really a win-win for the classical music industry. Who has really been hurt, other than a few enthusiastic reviewers who are probably embarrassed to have been taken in? Even they need not be embarrassed because they seem to have been responding genuinely to fine piano playing and an inspiring story. The scam was so brazen that they logically assumed it to be too brazen to be a scam. Whether Joyce Hatto or her husband, W. H. Barrington-Coupe, have been damaged by this is hard to say; she's now getting more attention for the apparent real career she had (such as the much talked about recording of Bax's Symphonic Variations) than she otherwise would have. He seems to have had his little moment in the sun and he doesn't give the impression of being the type who experiences a lot of shame.

Meanwhile, the classical piano world is in the news! Recordings of little-known pianists have been discovered! This also brings attention to some of the smaller labels and we're all reminded that there's a lot of talent out there. Remember when George Costanza pretends to be a tourist from Arkansas to impress a travel guide. He convinces her that he's already managed to get an apartment, a job with the Yankees, etc. and says, "You know if you take everything I've ever done in my entire life and condense it down into one day, it looks decent." Well, if you condense the work of all these pianists into one, we discovered that their accomplishments were really worth something. They just needed a galvanizing force to get recognition. That's where Joyce Hatto comes in. It's a timely reminder to the classical music world that great music-making goes on all the time all over the world and it's not only made by the superstars.

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