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Back to Introduction


"I DID IT FOR MY WIFE" - Barrington-Coupe confesses


Read on to see how the evidence stacked up against him:

Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax - Part 1

When Gramophone magazine asked Pristine Audio to investigate - this is what we discovered.
Read Gramophone magazine's original Joyce Hatto news story here

This CD is not what it seems:


One CD, at least two performers, neither called "Joyce Hatto"

Example 1: Joyce Hatto plays Liszt - or rather, no she doesn't, Laszlo Simon does - for ten of the twelve tracks on this CD.

See and hear for yourself the incontrovertible evidence of an audacious recording hoax. Here we examine a track from the above CD, released under the name of 'Joyce Hatto', but containing 10 tracks originally released in 1987 and played by Simon Laszlo on a BIS CD.

The fourth Hatto track has been quite subtlely doctored: digitally shrunk in time by 0.02% - just enough to alter overall timings, and with no shift in pitch; re-equalised to alter the piano tone slightly; panned slightly to the left, where the original piano was central.

If you take the two recordings and do nothing other than correct that 0.02% time discrepancy, this is what you get:

HattoSimonLeft channel = 'Joyce Hatto' - Right channel = Laszlo Simon
BIS CD, 1987
Simon recording has been time-shrunk by 0.02%

Track 4: 'Mazeppa' - DOWNLOAD MP3


The Simon CD used to fake Hatto:



The visual waveform match

These waveforms show the stereo 'Hatto' track at the top, with the stereo Laszlo Simon beneath, matching perfectly over nearly eight minutes of audio. This was the first evidence I saw - I knew the two would match perfectly without needing to listen. It is impossible for any musician to repeat the same performance twice - even more so when you're being measured to a sample-rate accuracy of 1/44100th of a second.

For comparison, I've added a third and fourth recording (chosen completely at random from the selection on offer at eMusic.com) by Christopher Taylor and Michael Ponti respectively, which shows just how much difference one normally expects to find between waveforms of the same piece recorded by different artists. Note that none of the recordings has been altered, either in time, volume or timbre to produce the display shown here.


Waveforms lined up in Adobe Audition

1 - Joyce Hatto
2 - Laszlo Simon
3 - Christopher Taylor
4 - Michael Ponti

For more on waveforms and distortion, see Part 8 of this investigation


The EQ

Not only are the timings very slightly distorted, but so is the EQ. This is approximately the EQ you'd need to apply to the above Simon track to turn it into perfect "Hatto" sound. (Note that the extreme alterations at the top and bottom are likely to be spurious as these tracks were originally compressed MP3 files)

Recording curve
Analysis using software by Har-Bal





Example 2: Joyce Hatto plays Liszt - or rather, no she doesn't, Nojima does, for at least one of the remaining tracks on the Liszt CD.

Here we had to scour the internet for the obscure source material. After a couple of dozen clearly different recordings, I eventually found a disc by Japanese pianist Minoru Nojima, released in 1993, which matched the fifth track on the alleged Hatto Liszt recording.

The sample came from an Amazon website - its tonal quality therefore compromised by heavy compression - but again there was no doubt that this was the one. Very few pianists ever take this recording so quickly - normally it runs to between 3'45" and 4'00", but with 'Hatto' we have 3'33".

With the Nojima the discrepancy in timing was more noticeable than the previous example - listen to the drift in the first of the two samples below - but by using digital time-stretching technology, retaining the pitch, we're again able to find the perfect match.

No pianist who's ever lived could replicate a performance to anything like the degree of accuracy heard here; it's simply not humanly possible, whatever the degree of Ms. Hatto's claimed virtuosity, to do so.

There can therefore be no shred of doubt about the fact that the 'Hatto' recording of track five on the CD is a clumsily doctored version of the Nojima recording.

HattoNojimaLeft channel = 'Joyce Hatto' - Right channel = Nojima
Reference Recordings CD, 1993
No time stretching - GRADUALLY GOES OUT OF SYNC

Track 5: 'Feux Follets' - DOWNLOAD MP3

HattoNojimaLeft channel = 'Joyce Hatto' - Right channel = Nojima
Reference Recordings CD, 1993
Nojima time-stretched by 0.975% - STAYS TOGETHER

Track 5: 'Feux Follets' - DOWNLOAD MP3


The Nojima CD used to fake Hatto:












We have yet to investigate a Hatto recording that has not proved to be a hoax.


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*Sleevenotes included wherever present in original CD booklet. We provide sleevenotes either direct from record companies' digital source material or from our own scans. In the latter case we normally scan English language content and libretti only. Scanned notes pass through OCR software and can be treated as text files - all are offered as Adobe Acrobat PDFs.

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About Pristine Audio

Pristine Audio

Pristine Audio
is primarily a specialist audio restoration business.

Founded and run by Andrew Rose, who carried out the technical investigation of the Hatto recordings, Pristine Audio's main output is of highly acclaimed historic classical recordings, digitally restored and remastered.

Andrew has a music degree from the City University of London, and spent 14 years as a sound engineer at BBC Radio in London.

Pristine Audio was founded in 2002 and moved to France in 2004. Pristine Classical launched a year later as one of the first dedicated Classical Music download websites.

This award-winning website has built an enviable reputation amongst specialist music-lovers and was featured on BBC Radio Three's CD Review programme in a half-hour interview with Andrew in January 2007.


Tel. +33 553 821857
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