16 February 2007

iTunes: your personal Nancy Drew

It now appears that at least some recordings attibuted to "legendary" pianist Joyce Hatto (1928-2006), and released by her husband under his small label Concert Artist, are digital derivations of published works by other well-known pianists. How it was first discovered was equally bizarre: when composer Jed Distler, a fan of Hatto, tried uploading her Liszt 12 Transcendental Studies CD to his computer, iTunes (via the miraculous Gracenotes program) ID'ed the disc as Lazslo Simon's. Other Hatto CDs have now been exposed as frauds.

That's royally f*cked up. But here's something more bizarre. This afternoon, I put Renee Fleming's new CD "Homage: The Age of the Diva" into my CD drive (I was so excited OMG) but my iTunes insisted it was her jazz CD "Haunted Heart." I then tried her Grammy Award winning "Bel Canto" CD, and strangely enough, iTunes declared it to also be "Haunted Heart." At this point, I was delirious with rage, you wouldn't believe. Next I tried her "Rosmonda d'Inghilterra" complete recording, my personal favorite among her recorded works, and sure enough, it's also a digital fake of "Haunted Heart." WTF is going on.