Reports of a new Joyce Hatto

Remember the British pianist whose highly-praised recordings turned out to be husband-made home copies of releases by major artists?

It appears she may have an Italian fan.

The pianist Marc Pantillon, professor at the Conservatoire of Lausanne, Switzerland, has drawn attention to a CD of solo Brahms by Maurizio Moretti, professor at Cagliari and at the Schola Cantorum, Paris.

Pantillon alleges that Moretti’s new recording is identical to his 2005 release on the Swiss label, Claves.

An Italian pianist, Luca Ciammarughi, supports his contention with comparisons here:

Moretti’s release was withdrawn last week by the label, Inviolata, and the label’s owner issued an unreserved apology to Claves and to Pantillon.

Moretti has also deleted all of his own postings about the recording.

But there’s more.

A sound engineer, Alexander Kalashnikov, now claims that Moretti’s release of Tchaikovsky’s Seasons is identical to a 2002 recording that he produced with the pianist Victor Ryabchikov. Moretti’s version appeared on Decca.

UPDATE: A third concern relates to his recording of the Rachmaninov 2nd concerto and Paganini Variations with ‘the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, conductor Alexander Petrov’. Ciammarughi finds alarming affinities with the EMI recording by Mikhail Rudy and Mariss Jansons.

Professor Moretti is a respected pianist with an international career. He makes frequent appearances on competition juries.

We have asked him to respond to these mysterious coincidences. It is possible he is the unwitting victim of some third party fraud, as was the unfortunate Hatto herself.

In any event, we await Moretti’s explanation.

 

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  • ‘We have asked him to respond to these mysterious coincidences. It is possible he is the unwitting victim of some third party fraud, as was the unfortunate Hatto herself.’

    I don’t think so, I reckon she knew all about this and was an active participant. You might forget having recorded a Beethoven sonata 6 months previously, but not sitting down with an orchestra to record Brahms or Rach 2. My theory is that they were a delusional couple who felt that she had been cheated out of a major career by the critics and musical establishment and the fraud was an act of revenge to make fools of the. In that, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

  • What astonishes me most, is we are not talking about extreme hard repertoire. With all my best respect to the “Seasons”, but that’s no music a pianist shouldn’t be able to record. Same about Rachmaninov and Brahms. The whole story sounds somehow weird, regarding the fact we do not talk about Godowsky or Sorabji….

  • La mia risposta arriverà con i mezzi dovuti nei luoghi appropriati. Il tribunale dell’inquisizione e la caccia alle streghe credevo fossero passati di moda ma vedo che Facebook per alcuni sta svolgendo questa funzione. Con questo vi saluto codialmente prendendo atto di tutti i vostri commenti.

    • Google translate: My answer will come with the means at the proper places. The Inquisition and the witch hunt were once fashionable but I see that Facebook for some is doing this. With this I greet you cautiously, taking note of all your comments.

    • Vede, Maurizio Moretti, una risposta in cui comunica che le sue tesi difensive arriveranno con mezzi dovuti e nei luoghi appropriati, rende la sua posizione, artistica e umana, con un profilo ancora più basso. Perché non è un avvocato o una sentenza che dovrà chiarire la sua posizione, ma lei stesso, come uomo e come artista, nei confronti di chi l’ha stimata, nei confronti degli ascoltatori e del pubblico. Lei ha offeso – qualora il plagio ci sia stato, ma 3 indizi fanno una prova recitava qualcuno – innanzitutto il pubblico, prima ancora degli artisti che – probabilmente – ha plagiato. Sarebbe onorevole da parte sua scusarsi o rispondere in maniera sincera. Saluti, Maestro!

      • Come lei giustamente scrive “qualora ci sia stato il plagio”. QUALORA. E questo fantomatico plagio è stato dimostrato, certificato e sanzionato presso qualche tribunale? Per certo qualcuno sta velatamente accusando di plagio un pianista che ha prestato il suo nome ad una o più etichette discografiche. Le stesse etichette hanno immesso sul mercato uno o più CD che taluni hanno analizzato, rilevando la inspiegabile corrispondenza con altre registrazioni e pubblicazioni. Da qui ad una condanna per plagio e contraffazione la strada è lunga e irta di ostacoli. Se nel frattempo qualcuno degli attori implicati ha qualcosa da dire lo farà, e tra gli attori ci sono ad esempio case discografiche di fama mondiale. Mi pare che l’unica azione sia stata quella di levare immediatamente dal mercato i CD. Il che non è certo un modo per spiegare… casomai è un modo per nascondere.

        • Il plagio c’è sotto gli occhi di tutti. Lei é complice per interesse? Posso dimostrarlo il plagio quando vuole, sono in possesso delle tracce.

          • I reati, se ce ne sono, devono essere contestati dai magistrati nelle sedi opportune, lei è per caso un giudice?

    • Fossi in lei inizierei a togliere alcuni articoli e alcune notizie biografiche assolutamente false dal suo sito … tra cui luoghi in cui non ha suonato e tournée inesistenti, così come pure alcuni articoli inesistenti …

    • Maurizio Moretti è sicuro che esiste questa recensione? … sicuro sicuro??? sicuro sicuro sicuro???
      (Concerto all’Auditorio Nacional de Musica di Madrid (Spagna) … Tournee con la Concertgebouw Orchester) – … Il pianista italiano Maurizio Moretti ha messo in mostra tutto il suo valore … Grandi applausi e un risultato sonoro di grande spessore, come nella tradizione del Concertgebouw, … Tre bis fra cui una bellissima Mazurka ( op.17 ) di Chopin … (Leopoldo Hontanon … el Pais Espana)

      • Faked reviews of live performances were an important and little-known part of the Hatto story. I read an article in which a journalist said that Mr Hatto (William Barrington Coupe) handed him a typed translation of a review in the Svenska Dagbladet of a performance of Rach 3 with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in the early 60s. The review was a wall to wall rave and gave a detailed account of the 6 encores that Hatto supposedly played.
        This didn’t ring true to me and I was struck by certain turns of phrase which seemed identical to those used in other ‘reviews’ of her playing. I was able to track down a British member of that orchestra at the time, who assured me that the concert never happened, as he would certainly have remembered it.

        In hindsight it is interesting how many of the performances for which WBC had reviews were said to take place in countries where English is not the main language – Sweden, Russia, Poland.

        Building up the myth of an internationally successful career was necessary to answer the obvious question of how the performer on some 120 fabulous discs could be completely unknown apart from a few very mediocre reviews in the Times and Telegraph.

    • By the way, have a look at the official biography on mauriziomoretti.com.
      There is stated that he played with the “Grenoble Philharmonic Orchestra”.
      Hilarious.
      Who has ever heard about a Philharmonic Orchestra in Grenoble ????

    • Due anni dopo il pubblico sta sempre aspettando la risposta del Signor Moretti. Mezzi dovuti ? Luoghi appropriati ? Ridicolo. Non basta ritirare le incisioni e continuare come se niente fosse. Sarebbe interessante di sapere se la Decca gli ha chiesto il rimborso delle spese di produzione …

  • Moretti also has a recording in his discography of Brahms 1 with the “Finland Symphony Orchestra” under no less than Patrick Gallois. Since I have been involved with one of these “coincidencies” for quite some time now, I checked with Maestro Gallois. He flatly denies having made any such recording and, of course, the “Finland Symphony orchestra” doesn’t, to the best of my knowledge, exist.

    • The recording of Brahms 1st is a NOT COMMERCIAL .. isnt present in any digital download. It i a live recording ONLY for My promotion. It was At Palau de la Musica de Valencia 2009 during a tour organized by My agency in Spain.
      I asked To Patrick The autorizathion And He was agree. I was art director of this orchestra.
      In fact The name of Finland Symphony It was used only for The tour because The Ivaskula Orchestra Finland plays together With Mikkely strings Finland. Only for this tour.
      Anyway please respect a pianist able To play LIVE ljke this Brahms 1st

      • It is not the answer I got from Maestro Gallois, but, after 8 years, perhaps memories become hazy. The explanation about the name of the orchestra, however, isn’t out of the question – sometimes small rural orchestras take these kinds of names when touring. If indeed Prof. Moretti was art director (I thought that term was more in the advertising business) of this orchestra, it is slightly odd, though, that he doesn’t remember the name of it: the Jyväskylä, not Ivaskula, Orchestra. He got the Mikkeli almost right, though.

      • Are you saying since you can play Brahms’ first piano concerto live we should just let go of the fact that you stole, on three occasions, someone else’s hard work? I agree with you about the Facebook thing, it got out of hand and one might say it’s a bit inappropriate. Apart for that, it’s very important that the truth comes out and that you pay for your actions. I don’t like to point my finger and to judge and I don’t like the fact that some people are visibly enjoying making you feel miserable because we are all human and we all make mistakes, but from the way you replied, not giving any answer whatsoever and at the same time with a very defensive attitude I think you have a bit of a problem with your ego and with your priorities. I sincerely hope you do the right thing, apologise publicly and take the consequences. Then you can start again.

  • If true, this fraud would bear some similarities to the Hatto fraud, but there would also be some crucial differences. Neither Joyce Hatto nor William Barrington-Coupe stood to gain much, if anything, from the deception. Hatto was elderly and dying from cancer. There was no question that the fake recordings were intended to aid her career (insofar as she even had a career by that point). Barrington-Coupe apparently never made a profit from the sales. I don’t believe that Barrington-Coupe’s motives have ever been entirely clear, and nor do I believe that we know with any certainty whether Hatto herself was aware of the fraud. It seems likely that Barrington-Coupe’s motive was partly to celebrate his wife, to whom he evidently was devoted, and partly to attack a musical establishment that he believed had overlooked her talent. He certainly succeeded in achieving the latter, and, in a strange way, he did succeed in winning for his wife a peculiar kind of celebrity.

    Most importantly, the Hatto fraud can perhaps be justified on the basis of its originality. Whether or not he intended it, Barrington-Coupe achieved something rather brilliant: he exposed the flaws and foibles of the music business. In some instances critics lavished praise upon his wife’s fake recordings, having some years earlier poured scorn upon the genuine recordings. One critic criticized the genuine Rachmaninov for being insufficiently Slavic and then praised the same recording, as a Hatto, for being so Slavic! Another wrote a sexist, racist review that damned a recording by an attractive young Japanese woman and then marveled at the Hatto recording which was substantially plagiarised from it, perhaps because it was purportedly by an elderly Englishwoman, or perhaps because he simply didn’t really know what he was writing about. But the thing about a brilliant fraud such as this is that it can only really be done once. The first time it is brilliant, the second, just a fraud.

    • Your assertion that no money was made flies in the face of the facts as we know them. Hatto discs were selling very well indeed, bringing in good money for at least one major music website through which they were sold. B-C might say he made no money but he would, wouldn’t he?

      • Yes, I know that the discs were supposed to have made money for retailers, but Hatto’s husband claimed, as you acknowledge, that he personally never made a profit. If true, this was presumably because he sold them to the retailer at or below cost price, or because the profits he made from those sales were insufficient to compensate for the losses he made producing discs that didn’t sell as well. I don’t think it’s entirely incredible that he made no money from the discs. If he did make any money it cannot have been any serious amount. Whether or not he made money I’m fairly certain pecuniary gain was not one of his motives for undertaking the fraud. I just don’t believe that a pensioner, who seemingly had no urgent need for money, would undertake such an elaborate fraud, risking years in prison if caught, for the sake of what can at most have been a few tens of thousands of pounds. I think his motives were personal and that any money he did make was just an unintended bonus.

  • if this horrible story, that tells a lot about how the discographic field is a pure fake and talent-less business today, will be confirmed, as anyway the comparison video shows out, the first to feel ashamed must be Decca. The fact that Decca has withdrawn this title is a proof thay things are not clear. Its reputation is today seriuosly damaged and the manager who approved this project must be fired. What a shame!

    • It’s not Decca! It’s Decca Italy, which is a different company. And as you can see, they know about this issue, so they removed all Moretti’s recordings from iTunes and Spotify and even his name from their website.

      • Decca Italy or Decca Rwanda has no importance. Decca Italy is anyway a part of Decca which means Universal Group…

        • John, that’s not strictly true, however much it might look like it or you might want it to be the case. Separate legal entities, licensing a brand.

      • Interestingly, The Brahms is still available from Amazon in the US – as a “CD Baby” release.

    • His name is completely removed from http://www.universalmusic.it. And Qobuz has removed all (!) his recordings…

      I have listened to this Decca release of the Tchaikovsky Seasons a number of times. I have to say that it is a very good one. I’m looking forward to learn who is actually playing… Hilarious 🙂

      I didn’t expect this to happen with a company like Decca. They may have a serious problem!

  • Indeed, this disgraceful incident should raise questions about the integrity of the recording companies involved (big or small, it should not matter). If they had produced the recordings, they would have plenty of evidence to disprove these claims. IWhat happened to quality control? Witch hunt? Really? I must be dreaming!

    • This means that Decca approved this project without caring recording-editing-mastering process, but only, probably, publishing a master file, without certifying it. That’s a real shame!

      • That’s how Decca in Italy works. There is only one person, who takes care of ALL the projects. Certainly she can’t check everything and I guess they are not really interested in checking, otherwise they would not publish so bad recordings [redacted].

        • He may be. Same company, same people.
          To be fair, no label can check every incoming recording against every known previously recorded version, that’s a silly thing to ask for.

        • DECCA and DGG (and Archiv) in Italy are under the same person; in other words, Universal has a single reference for classical music.

        • 5 days of silence by the label. Nothing on the press…very strange way to handle news. Music field must be informed about what happened. Pretty much to hide?…

  • It’s an offending things that a person who dares doing this is teaching in a high level institution like Schola Cantorum in Paris.

  • I have to respond to Alexander Davidson’s comment above re Joyce Hatto. He writes –

    “Neither Joyce Hatto nor William Barrington-Coupe stood to gain much, if anything, from the deception. Hatto was elderly and dying from cancer. There was no question that the fake recordings were intended to aid her career (insofar as she even had a career by that point)”

    With respect, that is quite unbelievable, Barrington-Coupe issued nearly 100 recordings allegedly by Joyce Hatto on the label he founded. Given the rave reviews most, if not all, received, it is unbelievable that he did not make at least a reasonable amount of profit After all, he had stolen all the recordings from other artists and only had manufacturing and packaging costs to cover.

    For younger readers, it’s important to recall how the two of them completely conned the music critics. In The Independent, her 2006 Obituary stated,” I know of no pianist in the world who is her superior musically or technically.” The Guardian waxed as lyrical. “. . . one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced . . . Her musical imagination, unlike so many virtuosi, matched her awesome pianistic mechanism.” And it was all a total fraud, plain and simple. How can anyone suggest this was justified because it “exposed the flaws and foibles of the music industry”? Even that is not true, for it was the foibles and gullibility of the critics that it exposed.

    As for re-naming orchestras, that too is not unknown. In its early years Naxos issued a recording of the Brahms Hungarian Dances allegedly by a Hungarian orchestra and conductor. It was in fact an earlier release made by the Hong Kong Philharmonic under a non-Hungarian conductor.

    • I don’t know how many copies of each recording were sold, given that he had real difficulty in keeping up with demand. He doubtless made a fair amount of money by the standards of a pensioner couple, but, by the standards of most frauds, it was probably peanuts.

    • I remember the very issue of the Gramophone magazine that “uncovered” the Hatto scandal ( after promoting and recommending these recordings for many years by their leading critics ) had still a glowing review going about another Hatto recording.
      The problem always was and still is the cluelessness and pretentiousness by many critics in the UK, paired with favouritism and generally sloppy research.

      The Gramophone printed so many errors I don’t know where to start.
      Notoriously unreliable used to be their ‘complete discography’ of one particular work, which then got vivisected by on of their experts.
      I remember when the Schubert G major Quartet was discussed : the ground breaking ( and on CD available ) recording of the Kolisch Quartet was simply left out.
      The reviewer had never heard of it, but went on a grand old waffling in true Gramophone style…

    • I stand by the claim that the recordings were not intended to aim Hatto’s career. They did not lead to concert engagements or recording contracts with mainstream companies. Indeed, given her poor health and the fact that she was nothing like as great a pianist as the recordings purported her to be, concert engagements and recording contracts would have been disastrous for them both.

      As for the money, I don’t know, and I doubt that anyone really knows. There must have been a certain amount of cost involved in producing and distributing the discs, so I doubt that the profit margin on the wholesale cost was very significant. I don’t think anyone has actual sales figures, but they cannot have been enormous. If he did make some money, it cannot have been very much. I guess he may have made something in the low tens of thousands, over a period of several years, but I very doubt that he was making hundreds of thousands, let alone millions. As a motive, I imagine that pecuniary gain was probably negligible.

      Yes, by “music industry” I obviously meant reviewers, not agents, musical directors, etc. I also didn’t claim that it was “justified”. However, I do think that Hatto and Barrington-Coupe are probably more to be pitied than despised. My point, really, was that the hoax could never justifiably be replicated. As a one-off phenomenon, the Hatto fraud provided a fascinating insight into the business of music criticism. It could have been undertaken as an elaborate artistic project in its own right (although 103 fake recordings could be said to be over-egging the pudding). It’s not entirely unlike the Nat Tate hoax: until the hoax was revealed, a remarkable number of people in the art world were unwilling to admit that they had never heard of him.

      • I totally agree with Malcolm James. Barrington Coupe must have made more than a reasonable amount of cash. The economics of recordings are pretty simple. The recordings were stolen. Plain and simple. Zero cost. The cost of a basic CD is peanuts. Pressing and packaging would be well under 50p per copy on even a smallish sample. His main costs would be storage and distribution. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that his total cost per unit was around £2. I have no idea what the CDs sold for, but again let’s assume that they were around £10 (i;e; less than full price in those days). Given the ecstatic reviews and a fairly healthy mail order business, if he sold even 1,000 copies of each CD, his profit would be in the region of £8,000. With 100 + fake CDs released, you can do the maths.

        • That sounds like it has to be a huge overestimate. £8 profit per disc, times at least 110 titles, times 1,000 sales per title, equals £880,000. Adjusted to account for inflation, and then minus tax, and you’re looking at a net profit for Barrington-Coupe of around £1.1 million at today’s value. There are two reasons why I doubt that they made that kind of money: first, where did it go? Nothing that I’ve read suggests that they were living a lifestyle of conspicuous luxury. Secondly, if he made that kind of money, why was he not prosecuted? I can imagine the police/CPS turning a blind eye to somebody who made a few thousand out of something which, to those outside the music world, must have seemed like nothing more than an eccentric hobby, but if we’re talking about making well over £1 million, that begins to look more like fraud on a truly criminal scale.

  • I have been involved in the new “Hatto” matter more than two weeks before it broke on Facebook and here at Slipped Disc.
    This because one of the victims of the alleged theft happens to be a BIS artist.

    I have to state, for the record, that I am deeply impressed with the seriousity and thoroughness of UMG about this matter and the speed, with which they have acted. There was never a question of hiding behind a barrier of lawyers or anything – this matter went straight to the top, decisions were taken and acted upon, professionally and impressively quickly.
    Thus, comments like those from Mr. De Vroot are, in my view, totally misplaced.

    However, Mr. De Vroot does raise an interesting point, when he says that the label should be “certifying” external tapes being offered to it. It would have been even more edifying, had he suggested a way to do this. Putting the artist through a polygraph test, or, slightly less refinedly, on the rack? Asking the artist to play the programme in the office, to see, if he/she can?

    Figure out the situation: here we have a Professor, both in Italy and in France, an established concert platform artist, and a frequent Juror of several international competitions, with a decent discography, coming to you, offering up a splendid version of Tchaikovsky’s “Seasons” that he has recorded. What should the first step be? Something like: “Well, Prof. Moretti, thanks for the offer. However, we would need some proof that you haven’t just lifted this Master from somewhere else and come here to us like a skulking thief.” Maybe that is the way Mr. De Vroot builds his business relations, but I can assure you, as CEO of a label, that it wouldn’t work with a bona fide artist!! Of course there is a contract and of course that contract states that the owner of the Master has the right to sell it. What more would Mr. De Vroot have them doing?

    Another aspect of this – seen from the perspective of the Artists – is that, unless it were possible to self-produce and offer up the results to an established label, very many artists would never even get to start a discography. We at BIS are getting a steady stream of finished masters offered to us. We accept extremely few, much less than 10% of our output, based on our quality requirements, but I am most certainly not going to put the poor Artist through a third-degree questioning about the origin of the tape – that’s totally insulting. And if, because of fear that once in a blue moon something may happen that is alleged here, labels were to deprive the artists of the possibility of doing this, many a career would never get to the starting point. One example: Alexandre Kantorow, this indecently overgifted pianist, came to us with a tape that he had somehow got financed (Liszt Concerti with his father conducting a renowned Finnish orchestra). He was 17 when recording them. He passed all quality checks with flying colours, actually, we didn’t believe our ears, and has now embarked on a major career with BIS, with a second, totally amazing Russian recital out, another one with orchestra already in the can, and we will record whatever he can give us. Had he not taken this step of recording the Liszt, I wouldn’t even know that he existed. Yes, once in a while a label may be cheated (the Moretti case, if true, is the first one I have ever heard of, since Hatto self-produced). That is a small price to pay for the artists to have this chance, and the labels to get to know artists and, when it does happen (if it did), if labels behave like UMG, there is really no harm done. Mr. Ryabchikov, whose excellent version we can hear on the CD, will get more PR out of this than ever through normal channels.

    Robert von Bahr
    CEO, BIS Records, Sweden

    • I strongly echo the above, well said Robert. There is a limit to what any reasonable label can do to verify the source of masters (even if it saw the artist on a recording session for the material in question, how do you verify that the tape arriving at the factory actually contains that performance?), especially when presented with someone who clearly has good credentials as a performer. Since it seems that the label in question has acted swiftly and appropriately, what more could we reasonably ask for?

    • Thank You Robert.
      Every musician wants to perform his/her own style to be known. Why copy-and-paste Ryabchikov’s 15-Seasons-old CD? Just go record yours Tchaikovskij, maybe you will perform even better. I can hit “REC’ knob. It’s easy.
      I would be glad to see a CD cover with a Right Name on it.
      Victor Ryabchikov plays His Seasons. And performs wonderfully. His way.

    • I feel the needing to answer to the CEO Mr Von Bahr, who gave to my opinion a grotesque and caricatural sense. Of course the label manager has not to “test” if the musician can play what he proposed, but I found crazy and not serious to proceed in this way. I think it is not serious to accept a ready made master without caring of the recording process. If I go to eat at restaurant I want to eat fresh cooked food, not the food one week old or food coming from another restaurant… is it clear? I could accept this way of doing if the manager has dealing with a Zimerman, with a Trifonov, with a Lang Lang not with a random one. it doesn’t seem that the pianist in question had an relevant blazon…I never heard his name before yesterday actually… I agree totally with who stated that Decca in Italy has published albums to many irrelevant artists… there is a sleazy business probably.

      • But that’s the point, Mr. De Vroot.
        The record released, allegedly under a false name, is truly excellent. It is good repertoire, extremely well played, well produced, in good sound and well edited. So why shouldn’t it be accepted, especially when presented by a pianist with some (local?) following, with a good standing in the academical world (Professor at 2 conservatories) and a notable presence in juries of competitions? Any label worth its name cares deeply for what it releases, and I am sure the label did the same in this case. Have you listened to the record to be able to say anything to the contrary? If not, why do you blame them?

        As I wrote in another answer, if a good record can only be produced inhouse, we would have no labels, as I don’t know a single classical record label with an inhouse technical staff that exclusively tends to that label’s needs. We at BIS were the last ones that held out, but even we had to stop that. Everyone uses free-lancers nowadays, and those free-lancers produce for those who pay. In this case the record was made by Mr. Kalashnikov, who has a string of very good releases behind him.

        So easy to blame others. Please tell us incognoscenti how it should be done, within the framework of the industry, as it looks today.

        Robert von Bahr

    • It is very simple: the scandal is that a label (especially if a major label and important like Decca) publish an album without taking care of the recording process. No care of recording, no care of sound, no care of editing (just like someone above was telling). The message is: pay and we publish anything you pass us. Not serious. The truth is also in another aspect: today managers are very probably (like in the case of Decca Italy) incompetent. Once managers discovered and produced interpreters who made history of making records. Now there is no competence, they are simple brokers. What’s happened proves this.

      • With all possible due respect, this is utter nonsence!!! In effect what you contend is that only a label can have the usage of a proper Producer and Recording Engineer – anything anyone else does has “No care of recording, no care of sound, no care of editing”. Well, Sir, you’re dead wrong. Firstly, basically no record label today have their own Producers and Recording Engineers on the payroll. Basically everyone uses free-lancers and I can name, just as a sample, three absolutely world-class outfits: Take5 in Sweden. Arcantus and Tritonus in Germany. They do productions for small and big labels alike with the same skill as they provide for private clients. How I wish that some people thought before sending away posts of such miserable contents.

        Secondly it is claimed that any label supports the “you pay – we release” maxim. Yes, there are a few labels out there that do this, but I can absolutely assure you that the better labels have a very strict policy as to what they are releasing, and the economical part comes rather a long way down the list. To call a Decca manager incompetent only goes to prove one thing (old Swedish proverb): He who said it, is it. In this specific case most here are agreed that the label did what could reasonably be expected. Also that the record released is truly excellent, albeit arguably not played by the one that sold it. So where does incompetence come into the equation?

        Norman, as you have said so many times: this is your site. why don’t you exert your right as publisher and spare the rest of us from posts like the one under reply?

        Robert von Bahr

        • Robert, it would be kind from you if you could avoid to deprecate and spit on other’s opinion. saying to someone “miserable” only because your opinion is different is itself a sign of miserably. Not tamed, you ask to the owner of this site to censor the posts on which you may not agree. what a sadness. I just think that I found not serious for a label to publish an album without caring of the recording process, even if made by third parts, but for them and at the moment. While you approve and accept, this is what I got, this way instead. And in fact, this sad story happend just for this. It is also very sad to see that making records, also this you confirm, is today reduced to a matter of money. Money come first, then (eventually) talent. Then, it is not true that labels don’t have their own studios or their own sound engineers and technicians. I think it is even obvious to expect that a label had full knowledge about an album that they are going to release, but for you this is a miserable thought. Points of view, I would never say that your opinions are silly, neither asking someone to ban your posts.

          • Yes, I admittedly got a little hot under the collar there, but you have used words like scandal, sleazy business, shame etc. None of that is simply true, and if you read what I wrote you’ll find that money comes “rather a long way down the list” for a serious label, in comparison with talent and quality.

            I just cannot see what is scandalous here, but then I know the business inside out, after having been in it for 44 years (actually, I am the oldest living CEO of a company, founded by him/her).

            If I say that I don’t know any classical record label that exclusively uses inhouse Producers and Recording engineers, and I am wrong, perhaps you could point one out to me?

            I happen to agree with your sentence: ” I just think that I found not serious for a label to publish an album without caring of the recording process, even if made by third parts”, but you make a huge leap of logic, when you from that conclude that this has happened in this case. I don’t want to repeat myself ad nauseam, but the tape came from a probable source and the record is excellent. You still owe me and the rest here an answer to the question: what would you have the label do instead? Say “NO!” to the ready tape and insist on re-doing the job?

            I can find nothing even remotely scandalous, sleazy or shameful here, at least not on the side of the label, yet you just continue in the same vein. Look, I don’t have any shares in UMG, and they are a competitor of mine in the same market. Yet, I cannot let accusations, taken out of empty air, stand unanswered and still sleep nights. I am not built that way.

            But I apologize for the censorship part, that was crossing the line.

            Robert von Bahr

          • Robert, yes, the master contained fabulous playing, and the label has been damaged for first, as I write some posts down too, but it is this praxis to be weird. I don’t want to look as the professor, but to me sounds strange that a CEO of a label who is in the market since decades (as you say, and I assume is 101% true) doesn’t know labels that have their own sound engineers or even some studio/location for recording of their own. Just in two legs, I have in mind 4-5 even very famous, but who knows how many there can be. So, a musician uses a recording belonging to another musician, but for you this is not scandalous; a musician needs to pay a label to publish a recording (putting money at the centre of the matter instead talent), and this can be at least acceptable for small labels whilst no one could expect this meter from a major, but for you this is not a sleazy business…you got bothered from my words “scandal” and “sleazy business” showing to be a bit touchy, while all over this discussions people said the worst things about the tragic protagonists of this story (and all of them are in right to me), but you point out only to my thoughts. Accept that the manager who worked this release has been low, and the label (damaged for first, I repeat) acted very superficially. Would have an unknown but highly talented musician, who could have proposed a master file maybe even better than that, had the chance to have a record published by a major label?

    • Mr. von Bahr, there are many ways of quickly determining if a recording is a fraud, and any respectable record company should spend the few minutes it takes to do this precautionary step before releasing.

      Remember how Hatto got caught in the first place?
      Someone was listening to some mp3s of “Hatto” and itunes recognized it as a different artist. If you upload a song to youtube they immediately recognizes possible copyright infringements as well, same with apps like SoundHound, Shazam etc.

      • Not if the original is out on a very tiny Swedish label without any international distribution whatsoever.
        But, in principle, I agree with you.

        Do I remember how Hatto got caught? Well, you’re asking the right person, aren’t you? It was MY record, the Liszt Transcendental Etudes, played by László Simon on BIS-369, that was recognized and which opened up the whole scandal, so, yes, I do remember it. I was interviewed even on CNN about it. it completely blocked off a full month of working time.

  • I was amused to read about this fraud, and had never heard before of Maurizio Moretti, so I decided to watch/listen to a recent video of his playing on YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPYib_Y3P10
    All I can say is: I think it’s pretty amazing that this man is “a respected pianist with an international career who makes frequent appearances on competition juries”, because I find the playing utterly clumsy, both technically and musically.

  • Please can people stop saying that Hatto didn’t know what her husband was up to. The Hatto “catalogue” contains 17 Concertos. I think we can safely say that she knew that she hadn’t visited a non-existent Church to play Brahms 2 with a non-existent Orchestra under a non-existent Conductor. The interview that she did with Jeremy Nicholas for Gramophone gives a picture of someone that was extremely switched on and not merely sitting in the background while the Hatto phenomenon unfolded.

    Jonathan Z

  • the matter is very easy: it is obvious that the label itself is damaged for first, nobody is arguing saying that “the label knew”, nobody is saying that labels have to compare the master they receive with all other recordings ever existed on the market, because this is impossible of course, but the point is that it is not serious and reliable that a label accept to publish a master without taking care of the recording process. Very simple. Is it possibile that there is not a sort of “quality control”, a sort of supervising? That’s making things really tragic. In addition to this, the pianist protagonist of this scandal is not absolutely famous and it looks like his career cannot stand a record under the sign of such a prestigious brand like Decca. Some people above told that Decca in Italy uses to work in this way, I can’t say of course, but facts tend to support this vision and that’s sad. Denying responsibility of the label, that decided to publish the pre-made master coming not from an obviously famous musician, means to accept this silly and totally anti-artistic way to produce music. This means only to make audience fool.

    • Dear Mr. De Vroot,

      I had hoped that this would stop, but I cannot allow this to stand. You become more and more desperate to justify the blame you have poured over the cheated label, even though you ameliorate it slightly above.

      English proverb: The proof of the pudding lies in the eating.

      There HAS been a quality control. It has taken place by listening vert carefully to the Master, which is a very well-produced and well-played Master of good music. The public, having bought the record, has been treated to a very good product. In the end of the day, the public has got what it paid for – a good recording of the Seasons. The only ones, who (allegedly) have been cheated are, in chronological order;
      – the real artist (assuming that the CD was copied);
      – the original label (same assumption);
      – the new label, which has found itself at the receiving end of a lot of flak.

      These are the ones with a real grudge. You, and the rest of us, are not.

      Now, If a label would put out an indifferent, or even bad, version, played by H. Amfist, but saying it was a hitherto undiscovered version by Rubinstein, now THAT would be a gross crime, which would influence the value of the public’s purchase, but in this case the public has got what it paid for. Actually more, since I am sure that the CD will become a collector’s item…

      Robert von Bahr

      • Mr von Bahr is founder-owner of the distinguished BIS label. And your name, SR, is not Roberto. Please state your name and authority if you wish to contest proven facts.

    • Either the system doesn’t allow any more answer to your post from 6.37 above, or the Editor has drawn the line, which would be OK for me, since I don’t really think we are adding much useful information any longer.
      Just one thing: IF this is a wholesale stealing, as is alleged, yes, it is a horrible crime, and the culprit certainly is worth all the disgust he’ll undoubtedly get. Yes, I do find this scandalous, but not from the label’s side. And the victim of this is not the public, which has been treated to a very good record, it is the three entities I enumerated, artist, original label and cheated label.
      Your usage of the word “sleazy” is supposed to be that an artist has to pay to be published. So, you think that this artist first allegedly steals a Master, and then PAID UMG to release it? It is a totally unreasonable supposition, and therefore I find the usage of “sleazy” in THIS connection unjustified. And no, I am not in the least bit touchy.

      You have spent most of your space to blaming the label for allowing this to happen, whereas I have said that it would be completely unreasonable to demand that a label – any label – should possess knowledge of every recording ever made. You finally acknowledge that, but then say that noone should issue a recording they haven’t made themselves, which, in my world, would kill many new talents’ chances of ever being heard. I reiterate: no classical record company of any size retains personnel that enables them to only release productions made inhouse. If you know anything to the contrary, please tell us. If not, please do acknowledge that I know what I am talking about.
      I have no personal interest in defending a competitor of mine, but I do have an interest in defending someone from being slandered like this label has been here.
      Let’s agree to disagree, before this gets totally out of hand.

      Robert von Bahr

      • you insist minimising about the superficiality of the label that published a master that today is clear has been stolen. “audience is treated good because people who has bought it had a very good album in the hand”, this is the sense of your words. a little detail: that very good playing didn’t come from the artist pictured in the package of the CD. it is a little thing, not really important to you, everyone has understood that for you this really matters nothing. No problem, free to think in this way, but allow, please, another to be disappointed and to feel frauded. You buy a watch of a very famous Swiss brand. After a while you discover that the watch is a fake, but since it was sharp after all, for you it is good, you are happy the same. It is a very bizarre way of thinking anyway. I am not a records entrepreneur, but I assume as an obvious thing that a label care of all the aspects concerning a new release. I have not to ameliorate anything of my opinions, I think what I think and it is what many other users thought in this discussion. What s happened is unworthy and regrettable for several reasons, on which you want at any cost to minimise. Then you are insisting, as if I were saying something from Mars, that no label has its own sound engineers and technicians… I can assume many small labels don’t have, but of course there are labels that have them. Don’t insist in saying that I must give example, it is not important at all. But it is natural to think that a label had its own technicians. A last thing: once upon there were talent-scouting, experts who hunted new and talented musicians, today only money rule. talent is nothing if you don’t have money to pay. decades ago, a new artist went to a label bringing a demo tape. Then, a staff of experts evaluated it in order to search for talent. today one can go directly with a master, ready to be simply copied on CD. But dont forget a rich cheque to pay it.

        • A very final attempt, since you turn my words around.
          1) It IS scandalous, if the allegations are true.
          2) The label couldn’t reasonably, in this specific case, have suspected this.
          3) Therefore, the label cannot be vilified as you are constantly doing.
          4) Upon finding out, the label has behaved exemplarily.
          5) The public is certainly misled, but, since the record is excellent, no real harm done – to the public. But the whole alleged thing is indeed scandalous, caused, if true, by a conscienceless perpetrator and fraudster. I absolutely don’t want to minimise, but I do want to put the blame where it belongs and, in this case, it IS NOT THE LABEL. BASTA!!

          6) It is natural, as you say, to expect that a label has its own engineers and technicians. That’s how it was. But it isn’t true – anymore. No label of any size can produce all its output with inhouse personnel alone, and if you don’t believe me, I have to insist that you give me an example. If you cannot, please stop maintaining something that is wrong. The only reason that this came up is because some persons here said that it is wrong to release an external production – everything should be made inhouse. If that were made a condition, the record industry, as we know it, would disappear basically overnight. The world changes.

          7) Your last point isn’t totally invalid, but that’s another – and big – discussion, which I won’t take up at this time, as it is irrelevant to the case under discussion.

          If you want to have the last word, welcome, but, please, try to be fair. A good way to start is to put yourself in the position of the label – what would YOU have done?

          If a crime has been perpetrated, as is alleged, please do blame the criminal, not the victims.

          Robert von Bahr

          • “5) The public is certainly misled, but, since the record is excellent, no real harm done – to the public.” – That is a joke, isn’t it? So you really think, for the ‘public’ it is totally irrelevant who made the record, as long as it is good?
            Besides, I agree with other commenters above that the label HAS to take some responsibility. Every company should have some standards in quality control and to take here an exception only because it’s Decca is quite ridiculous. I agree that the person who passed this record for release may have handled in good belief and had no guilt in this, or even no way in knowing that this recording might be a fake. But this person, after all, is PAID for exercising quality control over such products before they are issued and certainly has to take responsibility if something is wrong.

  • discussing with you is a waste of time. you go on insulting other’s opinions. only your thoughts are wise and true. Keeping on accepting what’s happened because in any case the recording was excellent, without considering was sold as a performance in the name of another artist, is really poor. And you really believe it…a manager who doesn’t understand that is publishing a record to a grotesque pianist (did u check some of his videos? For you being part of jurie in some minor contest and teaching in a random conservatory is a sign of high artistic respect) has no competence, and for you even this is not allowed to think. you may not agree, but I want to be free to express my opinions without being censored by you. Accept that people may have different opinions. So, stop your pathetically defensive of the label. label is damaged, but due to the incompetency of its manager and due to a way of doing too superficial, this is even too much clear. Someone above stated that there are “artists” who paid up to 50000€ to see published a cd with DG. Everything normal to you. Normal that only who has big amount of money to pay can have the high promotion of such majors.

    • John it really seems like you’re not even reading what Robert is writing to you. He did not say this is acceptable. He did not say that is fair to pay a big cheque to record. You are putting those words in his mouth. He said in fact that the practice of publishing an already recorded work from minor artists is the only way to avoid only rich artists to be published. The exact opposite of what you keep saying he said. You cannot expect a minor label to check that thoroughly if the recording they received is an already published work, for obvious reasons Robert told you more than once. I’m sure they did a little background check and nothing came up. Since it took 5 years for anyone to notice, I think the label is not to blame. Maybe you should read carefully what Robert wrote because it really seems like you’re just defending your original statement without actually giving any considerations to the answers you had.

      • Dear Sir, I guess you have not understood what´s the terms of the discussion, and you are really not aware of what parts came discussing. I have never put any Words in others´ mouth, rather someone made a caricatural interpretation of my opinions. I have never told that a label (major or small) must have compared the master with other recordings, because this is totally obvious. While he was repeating in a sort of loop that the master contained an amazing performance. The “little detail” is that the performance belonged (as it seems to be after this scandal breaks out) to another artist. That´s all. As to “He said in fact that the practice of publishing an already recorded work from minor artists is the only way to avoid only rich artists to be published” is a statement out of the topic, because we are debating here about a controversy that see as protagonists a major label and a not famous artist. The message that everyone can understand (I am not a worker of this field, I am not a musician, but I speak as lover of Music) is “pay and we publish”. A collectors like me get very impressed by such thing. I do not know, maybe me and Mr Robert say same things but from different angles. What it bothered me was his attitude to give a comic interpretation (and moreover wrong) of my opinions, because I have never told and meant that the label should have compared the master with other recordings.

  • An individual who posted under two names on this thread falsely alleged that certain named Italian artists were paying Decca to issue their recordings.

    His statement, which is both untrue and defamatory, has been deleted. The individual concerned has been spammed out.

    • Many ones know this, and this is what other users reported in this discussion. Why do you have to say it is “untrue and defamatory”? It is not illegal, maybe is reprehensible, but not illegal and not defamatory. Here below someone writes that the label involved had a perfect behaviour, but outside this page there is no news, no official reports by the label, no news nowhere about what´s going on. I actually do not see anything exemplary.

    • It depends from the point of view: A recording company may ask the artist to cover (or contribute to) the recording expenses and/or, in some cases, the booklet expenses and/or the promotion expenses. Some other companies may ask the artist to buy a certain amount of copies in order to cover the duplication & distribution costs. This will mean that the artist will have to pay a certain amount of money for this process. This might be considered as “paying to release record” but however this could be a possible path if the expected sales figures are not going to cover the production costs. And this is not necessarily “untrue and defamatory”.

  • To SL just now:

    If I could have bolded or italized the “real” I would have. I wrote that slightly with a tongue in the cheek (=halfjoke). Yes, those who bought this CD, BECAUSE it was Moretti playing, have (allegedly) been swindled. Those, who bought it because they read the excellent reviews, wanted the Tchaikovsky’s Seasons and thought that Decca is a quality guarantee (I would guess the absolute majority) have indeed got precisely that – a splendid, well-recorded version, and have suffered no REAL harm. Having said that, I am as flabbergasted and upset as anyone else (remember, I had MY CD copied by Barrington-Coupe in the Hatto affair) and I utterly despise the alleged scandalous behavior of the alleged perpetrator. I am married to a world-class musician, and I can easily see both sides of the table.

    The only matter, in which I deviate from the general consensus here, is the matter of apportioning guilt and blame. Of course the label has a responsibility, but that responsibility has to be possible to exercize. In my very considered opinion, UMG was swindled in a way that was IMPOSSIBLE to detect. Also (allegedly) by a person with good credentials, not someone from the back street. They can’t be required to do more than they did, and, when the story broke, they have acted faster than I thought possible. So why this vilificationing, this crucifying, this floccinaucinihilipilificationing Decca? We don’t live in a perfect world – crimes do happen, victims are created.
    If a crime has happened here, the victims are those 3 I have enumerated in the first place, the public a long way behind. For me the question is what is done when the alleged hoax is discovered, and here I can only have praise for UMG – they have handled the situation in a way that sets an example for anyone to follow.

    With this I’ve had enough – I need to procure some fakes to release…
    Robert von Bahr

    • my God! that’s so hilarious! So, if someone has bought that CD to listen to Moretti has been cheated, while, if some other one has bought the album because pushed by an exciting review has not been cheated at all. Assuming an eventual compensation for the cheated ones, how could one prove to be eligible of the compensation? how could one prove that the CD was bought because of a review or because the desire to listen to Moretti? Your statements give no sense. Denying evidences is really serious.

      • Can’t help myself, so…

        So I go to a restaurant, eat something and order a glass of the local Vin de table. Turns out that they served me a glass of wrongly labelled Château Mouton-Rotschild 1990 at the same price instead. This is discovered years later and makes the news.
        Technically I have been cheated. Do I call for the resignation of the sommelier, who should have tasted every glass to every guest before serving it? Do i boycott the restaurant? Do I yell blue murder and ask for compensation?

        Now I WILL shut up.

        • the example you give is fully inappropriate and of high banality and stop arguing in this direction because everyone has understood that for you publishing a performance under false name is totally acceptable as long as the performance is good. It is a way deeply wrong and unlogical. I would feel ashamed of this opinion. It seems that, under different nicks (so I reply to you that I am not, how could I?, trying to force anyone to think like I do), you stepped into this discussion only to promote yourself and your label. Then please, stop currying Decca.

  • Se l’illecito fosse provato, e sottolineo “se”, credo che per questa persona sarebbe una tra le più grandi figure di M storiche del pianeta. Una vergogna incancellabile.

    • é gia stato provato tecnicamente. Non occorre una sentenza di tribunale, che per motivi economici (Marc Pantillon, mio ex professore, non può’ permetterselo) non si farà visti i costi di una causa civile.

      • Per fare una denuncia non occorrono soldi. Il reato ipotizzato può essere denunciato presso la procura, senza spendere nulla. Sul fatto che per emettere una sentenza non occorre un tribunale…. beh, mi permetta…. a questo tipo di affermazioni è preferibile il plagio.

  • Mah…, ho visto recentemente il video di Moretti a Cracovia… Mani e movimento pedali “sono profondamente NON sincronizzati con il suono…” A “casa” di Chopin, per giunta…

  • We must all heed Mr De Vroot’s warnings, otherwise we risk enjoying recordings that are not as good as they sound.

    • Hey Flash Gordon, you are free to enjoy all the recordings you want, but if you treat the matter in these terms this means you have not understood absolutely anything. If you are happy to enjoy recordings without knowing who is making those sounds, is a (such silly) thing that please yourself. So, it is the same for a good book (please, Don’t tell me about the writer), or for a movie (noooooo, shut up! doesn’t matter who directed it by…). Really unbelievable points of view.

  • Dear John de Vroot (and I think we all would like to know who You are: You made Your statement. OK. Now You try to force us all to think Your way. Inacceptable.
    And, please, stop annoying maybe the best and bravest producers/company owners of the last decades.
    We all know about the trouble companys like EMI (sigh, I miss the old 70s-EMI!), DG or CBS/Sony went through.
    Bis is like the moon: There every day. Without crying out loud about new stars, always competent, always on his way without lamenting or complaining but always at least indispensable.
    So, please, show at least a little bit of respect.
    And, dear Robert von Bahr: Thank You for so many years of fun, joy and happiness!

    • “Now You try to force us all to think Your way. Inacceptable.” Really? And when precisely did I try this attempt of manipulating people’s brain? Come on, you are kidding…
      “And, please, stop annoying maybe the best and bravest producers/company owners of the last decades”. Really? Did I annoy who? When? Who are these ones? Did I pointed out names? What has to do the best and bravest producers/company owners with the one who approved (maybe, all of us think, without knowing, but this is not acceptable in any case) a fake?
      “We all know about the trouble companys like EMI (sigh, I miss the old 70s-EMI!), DG or CBS/Sony went through.” That’s gorgeous! Congratulations!!! So, since these companies had trouble we have to accept they publish a fake?
      I discard the rest of your text because is irrelevant.
      it is not necessary to make any comment. Your arguments are weak on every side.

      • I fully agree with you, Mr John De Vroot. The fake it is under the responsability of the CD Labels. These CD Labels should give to the market some information about this fakes. But I noted that they canceled some days ago the CD’s from their catalogue, is there something to hastily hide?

  • Isn’t it interesting that the Rachmaninov recording has been deleted from Mr. Morettis’s Youtube account because of copyright claims by WMG? I don’t know if anyone has checked this thoroughly but the few snippets I’ve heard from that recording sound indeed the same as the Rudy/Jansonss. And the whole thing about the recording location and year seems to be quite strange anyway. I could find no reference at all that Moretti played that concert in the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2011 (as it is stated in the credits). And I don’t have a clue who ‘Alexander Petrov’ is.
    Perhaps it might be really interesting to investigate further in this matter and to check his other recordings.

  • Tra l’altro pare che non abbia MAI suonato con alcune delle orchestre e in alcuni luoghi che cita nel curriculum …

  • This new “Musicgate” is fantastic! It makes for wonderful reading. Yet, I am a little concerned that the original misdeed seems to spur a much wider battle of the intellects. Obviously, people want to defend their respective positions and I greatly enjoyed reading Mr Von Bahr’s reasoning (which, by the way, I find impeccable in its transparent candor). My comment above, though, raised questions about the integrity of the “record companies involved (big or small, it should not matter)”. I had no intention whatever to generalise about the “recording industry”. There should be a question of ethics, though. Years ago I recorded the complete piano concertos of a Twentieth-Century Italian composer. The sessions were held in Germany. Months later, the engineer discovered that two bars of piano playing were missing from his files, and as those two bars were very easy to play, he offered to “fill in” in my stead. No can do! I paid my way to Germany, recorded the two bars, and each and every note in that set is played by yours truly. Easy does it!

  • “Moretti’s release was withdrawn last week by the label, Inviolata, and the label’s owner issued an unreserved apology to Claves and to Pantillon”
    Where can I find said apology? Also there is a misspelling in the article: it’s Cagliari, not Calgiari.

        • That’s why I asked in the first place. It is curious that apart from a couple Facebook posts and this website there is no news whatsoever about this story. The video by Ciammarughi is very clear and leaves no doubts.

  • A very belated response to Alexander Davidson who said on 9 May when querying my admittedly very rough estimates of the amount Barrington-Coupe could have made (and they could be under-estimates) –

    “Secondly, if he made that kind of money, why was he not prosecuted? I can imagine the police/CPS turning a blind eye to somebody who made a few thousand out of something which, to those outside the music world, must have seemed like nothing more than an eccentric hobby, but if we’re talking about making well over £1 million, that begins to look more like fraud on a truly criminal scale.”

    It probably was, even though it was perhaps not intended to be. The question then is far less what he did with the cash. He could have donated it all to a medical charity, for all I know. Far more pertinent is: who would sue? As I understand it, Barrington Coupe did not just steal from one label. He stole from a bunch of them. First, each would have to be identified and that identity proven in a court of law. Second, the law courts are not noted for the finer points of a musical interpretation and comparisons between a couple of professional recordings. The legal cases could have been quite complicated and thus expensive. Then, without accurate records, how would the exact number of sales be quantified? It would all be a legal quagmire with each plaintiff probably standing to gain at most £10,000 to £20,000. What recording company would go to court for that amount when costs would be far more?

    You may not be aware but there was for many years – and I believe still is – an internet site where anyone could purchase recordings “royalty free”. These were purported to be have been recorded by the “RCFM Orchestra conducted by Keith J. Salmon”. Each track or work cost somewhere in the region of US$37. As the site stated, the full cost of all its 150 works would be $5,550 whereas through the site the cost would only be $300! The fact is the RCFM Orchestra does not exist and I wonder how many have heard of any Dr. Keth Salmon who the website declared an eminent conductor. Yet when some savvy music lovers started listening to the offerings, it was perfectly obvious that most – if not all – were fake copies of existing recordings. The Figaro overture was by Solti and the LPO. Other CDs were direct copies of recordings with Abbado, Colin Davis, Tennstedt, Kennedy and many others on labels including DGG, EMI, Philips and Naxos.

    One recording company did attempt to take the owner of this site to court. The law suit took place but was dismissed because of an issue over legal jurisdiction. The result was a questionnaire by the ABO sent to all its members asking them to listen carefully to all tracks on this website with a view to identifying other fakes. What happened thereafter I do not know – except a number of recordings were taken off its website catalogue. These have been replaced by others.

    This whole episode highlights the major difficulties facing recording companies whose output is purposely copied and sold under fake labels, whatever profit is made.

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