Ireland is abuzz with the latest BBC drama, filmed there on the cheap and with funding from the Irish Film Board (for anomalies, see below).
It’s the story of the pianist Joyce Hatto whose husband issued a slew of recordings in her name. Joyce, who enjoyed a modest career, was suddenly extolled by critics as one of the greatest. These were remarkable performances – but they were not by her. They had been stolen by her husband from extant recordings by various fine pianists and passed off as hers. Wikipedia has a full list of the thefts.
The husband, William Barrington-Coupe, owned up to the thefts, but was never charged. Here’s a column I wrote at the time.
This, apparently, is the only authentic Hatto recording that he ever released, a performance of the Arnold Bax Symphonic Variations. As you can hear, Joyce is a perfectly capable performer.
The couple will be played in the film by Francesca Annis and Alfred Molina. The script was written by comedienne Victoria Wood.
But here’s what worries me:
1 Is this going to be a whitewash of a really sordid piece of fraud?
2 Is it going to be a send-up of ‘experts’ inability to tell one artist from another (if so, bring it on…)?
3 Why is the BBC shooting in Ireland when there’s joblessness at home?
4 Why are the Irish funding a film for the British to watch?
5 Is any of this for real?