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We have a classical hoaxer at loose on Youtube

If you have listened to the three piano pieces I posted – supposedly by Mozart, Haydn and Mendelssohn - and the comments that followed from sceptical listeners, you will have realised by now that they were placed on Youtube by the same source.

They have the makings of something faintly sinister – the lurking on Youtube of a highly trained musician who is planting fake works by great composers.

Who is he, and why does he do it. We know it’s a he from the upper body. But that’s all we know. Can the hoaxer be unmasked before he perpetrates something truly serious – a 33rd Beethoven piano sonata, Mahler’s infantile polka-preceded-by-a-funeral-march, a Boulez love song, Britten’s rage for a spent penny?

The hoaxer goes under the rubric The Mad Rhino and he’s been professionally trained to a pretty high standard. From his performance of the finale of Prokofiev’s 7th sonata, we suspect that he lives – or has connections – in the state of Illinois. All further clues gratefully received. An amnesty is promised if the hoaxer turns himself in before the end of the Easter holiday.

UPDATE: See the hoaxer at play:

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  1. NIgel SImeone says:

    “They have the makings of something faintly sinister”

    Isn’t there a more benign interpretation? I see this as an able practitioner of pastiche having a little fun. I can’t see anything sinister in that.

  2. He has no chance of ever doing something really “sinister” as long as he continues to claim his concoctions are by established Classical and Romantic masters with their own, quite distinctive styles — which his compositional “methods” have consistently failed to mimic convincingly — and especially if he gives his pieces specious opus numbers or catalogue listings. The situation would be far dicier if he chose to “unearth” previously unknown works by earlier composers whose real work is still being discovered (for example, Vivaldi as well as a host of Renaissance masters). At that point he’d come under the scrutiny of academic historical musicologists. And believe me, when THEY get riled up he’ll feel as if he were being tortured by the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition . . .

  3. Fritz Kreisler all over again…

    Love it.


  4. Theres no chance in mimicking Vivaldi either.
    In any case you need the craft to do that , that is , to emulate any composer you have to have the craft right.
    Then you can play pastiches on given stylistic periods.


    A biography (and photo) of the pianist who gave the first modern performance of the Stenhammer Piano Concerto No.1 as discovered by his colleague Allen B. Ho at SIUE. Assuming the Prokofiev encore video dates from 1992 (which was when that concerto performance took place) then there’s a plausible likeness…
    He is also the co-writer with Ho of the Shostakovich paper, which would explain its promotion on the channel.

  6. Talking about Spanish Inquisition…. Good luck on your witch-hunt!

  7. Another student says:

    Calm down everyone, it’s only a bit of fun…

  8. yes, i agree, i thing Mr Lebrecht had his tongue stuck firmly in cheek

  9. Not quite sure why you are describing this as faintly sinister … I think it sounds like a very talented person having fun with classical memes.

  10. How can we beg for more? Maybe it’s actually a Piano Puzzler?

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