Archive | Editorials

THE DEATH OF THE HORENSTEIN CULT?

It’s well known that performers of all stripes, and not just in classical music, sometimes amass a cult following, particularly if the artists in question have the good fortune to be dead. If they died tragically, even better. If they died tragically and made very few recordings, and those of dubious quality, better still. The […]

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MONEY-BACK GUARANTEES FOR CLASSICAL CONCERTS?

This summer something very rare happened in the film industry. Faced with declining attendance, one of the country’s two major cinema chains offered a money-back guarantee on showings of the critically acclaimed boxing epic “Cinderella Man.” Now I have to confess that this still didn’t motivate me to go, but it did get me to […]

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MOZART AT 250: DEJA-VU ALL OVER AGAIN

Both the music and the Austrian tourist industries are revving up for another “Mozart” year, only a decade and a half after the last one. 1991 marked the 200th anniversary of the great composer’s death, and both the roundness of the number (an even two centuries) as well as the significance of the event itself […]

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BYE-BYE TOWER (THANK GOD!)

The final, ignominious demise of Tower Records, auctioned off in bankruptcy to a liquidator for about $146 million, couldn’t have come quickly enough. For years this dinosaur has acted as a break on the necessary restructuring of the retail sector, the musical equivalent of an acute intestinal blockage. The end was predictable, indeed expected for […]

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WILL THE REAL JOYCE HATTO PLEASE STAND UP!

On Tuesday, February 13, a CT.comreader, Mr. Brian Ventura (who kindly granted me permission to identify him by name) sent one of our writers, Jed Distler, a very remarkable email which he kindly forwarded to me. It seems that the reader had purchased a copy of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes with Joyce Hatto on the Concert […]

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The Hatto Affair: A Victimless Crime?

It has been a bit more than a week since the news broke that many, if not all, of British pianist Joyce Hatto’s recordings for her husband’s Concert Artist label are fakes. One fact is clear. As far as the damage done to the so-called victims, those artists whose work was pirated and issued under […]

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THE HATTO AFFAIR: I DID IT FOR MY WIFE

How disappointing. William Barrington-Coupe, husband of Joyce Hatto and head of Concert Artist recordings, has (apparently) taken the easy way out. In a pathetic letter to BIS owner Robert von Bahr, he claims that he was motivated to doctor his late wife’s recordings to hide technical imperfections and gasps of pain as the suffering woman […]

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SYMPATHY FOR THE SERIALISTS

It’s probably a truism to say that there are only two kinds of music: good and bad, but now that tonality is back in vogue and the serialists are on the retreat, it may be a good time to step back and take stock. My principal motivation has been the audition of a number of […]

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THE NY PHILHARMONIC: PLAYING WITH DICTATORS

There has been no shortage of juicy classical music news recently, starting with the death of German composer and space cadet Karlheinz Stockhausen. I was planning to use that event as a springboard to comment on the ongoing and welcome demise of the European Post-War avant-garde: its hypocrisy, institutional rigidity, and its hopeless failure to […]

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Journalist Norman Lebrecht Dead at 61

Classical music’s prophet of doom has, at last, met his own demise. Spontaneous human combustion is a rare and controversial occurrence, but it has been known to happen even if the exact mechanism remains a mystery. For example in Dickens’ Bleak House, Mr. Krook, a heavy drinker, goes up in flames “engendered in the corrupted […]

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