Who Was Joyce Hatto?

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2010092120160531 (BBC7)
20160601 (BBC7)
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The real story of Joyce Hatto, the pianist embroiled in a fakery scandal.

In June 2006, the death was announced of the pianist Joyce Hatto. She was heralded as a great lost genius of classical music- a reclusive woman who almost never performed in public, but who in later life had created sublime recordings in private.

A few months later it emerged that those recordings were fake- lifted from other performers and tweaked in the studio - which leaves a question hanging.

Biographer Anne Sebba sets out to discover: 'Who was Joyce Hatto?'

'In the final few years of her life, she released a huge range of CD recordings which swamped the market and were praised to the hilt by a select band of reviewers,' says Anne, 'I remember thinking, Where had this amazing talent been all these years'?

Then, after a pile of glowing obituaries, which told of her four decade battle with cancer, these recordings of the pianist Joyce Hatto were branded as fake - copies of commercial recordings made by other artists, - not by Joyce at all.

Joyce's husband, William Barrington Coupe, the sound engineer for her recordings, said that he alone was to blame for the deception- acting purely out of love, and replacing passages of his wife's playing with other artists.

But behind the final deception, there is an intriguing story of an incredibly talented pianist marred by ill-health.

The conductor George Hurst talks about working with Joyce in the early 1960s. The novelist Rose Tremain recalls Joyce as an inspirational piano teacher. The critic Lewis Foreman remembers an extraordinary performance at Guildford.

Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown Production first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2010.

The conductor George Hurst talks about working with Joyce in the early 1960s. The novelist Rose Tremain recalls Joyce as an inspirational piano teacher. The critic Lewis Foreman remembers an extraordinary performance at Guildford.