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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

iTunes Catches Piano Plagiarism

Joyce Hatto died in June 2006, having become a cause célèbre with fans of classical piano in the last years of her life. A series of recordings showed her masterful command of a wide range of composers including Liszt, Schubert, Rachmaninov, Dukas and more.

Last week, a critic at the Gramophone magazine got surprise when he put a Hatto recording of Lizt's 12 Transcendental Studies into his computer. The iTunes player identified the disc as being recorded by another pianist, Lászlo Simon. He dug out the Simon album and found it sounded exactly the same as the Hatto one.

iTunes had stumbled on a hoax. To identify albums it calculates a 'discid' from the duration of the tracks and then connects to the Compact Disc Database online. The Gramophone critic tried another disc - Hatto playing Rachmaninov - and again iTunes identified it as belonging to someone else. Again, the named recording - by Yefim Bronfman - sounded no different.
-- iTunes fingers musical fraud

Case is still "ongoing" as it were. Apparently the husband - who produced the "recordings" can't offer an explanation for the similarities. Interesting to see technology stick it's sleuthy nose where apparently it belongs.

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