Hatto husband's about-face

Having insisted that his wife's virtuoso recordings are genuine just one week ago, William Barrington-Coupe now admits that he did pass off piano CDs as wife's work (Telegraph, 27/2/07):

But William Barrington-Coupe insisted that he only did so to give Joyce Hatto hope as she was dying, and maintains that she knew nothing of the deception.

He said she had made recordings, but they were marred by grunts of pain as her ovarian cancer worsened and he began to insert excerpts of other recordings to hide the noises.

"In some cases it was only a matter of bars, but her playing in places just became a template. It was very complicated and difficult to do, but I just allowed myself to take longer passages than initially because it was easier to fit them in."

More details, as Gramophone reveals William Barrington-Coupe's confessional letter to BIS:

As he grew more adept at the practice, he began to take longer sections to ease the editing process, and discovered, he says, by accident how to digitally stretch the time of the source recordings to disguise the sound. He would, he says, use Hatto’s performances as a blueprint and source recordings which were along the same lines.



觀影讀書流水賬 25/2/07


● 張楊 《落葉歸根》 (7/10)
● Robert Jan Westdijk 《Phileine Says Sorry/Phileine zegt sorry》 (6/10)
● Laurence Ferreira Barbosa 《Ordo》 (6/10)
● Dominik Graf 《The Red Cockatoo/Der Rote Kakadu》 (7/10)
● Steve Buscemi 《Lonesome Jim》 (5/10)


● Dan Brown 《Deception Point》



荷蘭電影看得不多,這部《Phileine Says Sorry》講的是辣妹Phileine談情勇往直前,醋意十足,死不悔改,幾乎誤了好事。

《Lonesome Jim》是部頗為典型的indie film。主角Jim是個到紐約尋作家夢碎的內向廢柴男,挾著尾巴返回老家解決吃住。電影刻畫他和父母和兄長(另一廢柴男)的關係,及一段與單親母親的若即若離戀。自問難與廢柴Jim產生共嗚,因此也難以投入電影。

六零年代初,一群有藝術家氣息,一味追尋享樂的東德年青人常到Dresden一家名為Red Cockatoo的俱樂部聽西方流行曲,跳西方流行舞。那是一個生活常被監視,行為常被身邊人告密的年代。最後,男主角在圍牆築起的前幾天逃奔到柏林,跟他傾慕的女主角從此一牆隔天涯。


《Deception Point》與《The Da Vinci Code》的比較:
- 同是Dan Brown作品
- 《Deception Point》先,《The Da Vinci Code》後
- 《Deception Point》銷量平平,《The Da Vinci Code》全球賣個滿堂紅
- 《Deception Point》是驚天大陰謀式懸疑小說,《The Da Vinci Code》亦然
- 《Deception Point》的故事涉及NASA和政治,《The Da Vinci Code》則講的是天主教會
- 兩書故事不同,寫作公式和技法卻幾乎一樣,文筆同樣差勁

為何兩書在銷量上有如此迥異的命運,我不知道(我只知道自已對教會陰謀有大歡喜,對外太空不感興趣),Dan Brown自已說不知道(可參考他就官司案的說詞),只有事後孔明才知得一清二楚。

觀影讀書流水賬 14/1/07
The two Aringarosas
觀影讀書流水賬 30/7/06
Great for readers, not for bookshops
Finished Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code






在陣陣喜慶的鑼鼓聲中,娶親隊伍被遊客簇擁著來到中央的水面舞台。兩個“丫環”攙扶著蓋著大紅蓋頭的“林妹妹”,將紅繡球交給青梅竹馬的“寶哥哥”。“邁火盆,紅紅火火!”“過馬鞍,平平安安!”幾個象征吉祥的“老禮”行過後,“寶哥哥”用一桿象征“稱心如意”的秤桿挑開了“林妹妹”的紅蓋頭,周圍的觀眾都不禁鼓起掌來……來逛廟會的情侶陶先生和宋小姐準備在今年結婚,陶先生說,這次是特意來廟會“考察”的,“我比較喜歡古典婚禮,能體現中國傳統的親情。” 他說。




Origami as art, math and magic

Never thought a longish article on a full-time origami (paper folding) artist could be this interesting.

The Origami Lab: Why a physicist dropped everything for paper folding (Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, issue of 19/2/07)

You'll read about:

● The Bug Wars - origami contests in which Japanese origami artists try to outdo one another by folding the most spectacular insects

● How an American physicist Robert J. Lang fell in love with origami and eventually became a full-time origami artist

● How math can be used to aid origami designs

● What has origami got to do with kindergarten

● Why was origami seen as a form of magic (Houdini even wrote a book on paper folding)


Christopher Howell reveals Joyce Hatto correspondences

Christopher Howell, the critic at MusicWeb whio previously penned glowing reviews of Joyce Hatto's CDs, decided to reveal his extensive correspondences with Hatto and Barrington-Coupea.

For more on this safa, check out the rec.music.classical.recordings discussion group, or new additions to the ongoing series Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax by Andrew Rose of Pristine Classical.

How iTune/Gracenote identify your CD?

In my previous post - The Joyce Hatto hoax? - I mentioned that iTune helped identify a Joyce Hatto CD as a potential fake.

Actually, before this incident, I never thought about how iTune "identify" music. I somehow just assumed that there must be a certain piece of information embedded in a CD (a unique code, e.g.) which would be transmitted to the Gracenote database, which iTune uses, for matching purpose. The matching, I supposed, was done through information submitted by record companies.

That is, it seemed to me that a Joyce Hatto CD of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes would carry a code (say 1a2b). Concert Artist, the label which released that CD, would submit album and track information to the Gracenote database to match that unique code.

If this is indeed how it works, then a Joyce Hatto CD will always be identified as just that, and there is no way to expose this potential fraud.

In fact, from Gracenote's web site, these days music identification is done in a much complex and sophisticated way:

Audio Waveform Recognition Technology: Using audio waveform fingerprint technology, MusicID can identify individual songs or albums in a user's collection regardless of source, format or tag information.

In simple terms, A may disguise himself as B and in posession of B's identification documents, but he still has the fingerprints of A and therefore can be exposed when being checked.

I learned something new today.


To learn even more, including the controversy surrounding CDDB/Gracenote, read Wikipedia's entry on Gracenote.

OK, so there is no unique code embedded in a CD and that CD information was submitted by volunteers/users as well (at least in the early years). But that's not the point here. The point I want to make in this post is, should music recognition was done along this vein, there is no way to identify a recording as fake. There must be some form of fingerprint/DNA inherent in the music itself for this to happen.

Song Recognition Software Uncovers Fraudulent Recordings (Wired Blogs, 21/2/07)
Gracenote Defends Its Evolution (Wired News, 13/11/06)












我對 你錯
非友 即敵
報仇 負義
寧枉 毋縱






The Joyce Hatto hoax?

Gramophone describes the scandulous discovery as:

It was already one of the strangest stories the classical music world had witnessed. But the discovery of the late English pianist Joyce Hatto as the greatest instrumentalist almost nobody had heard of, appears to have taken a bizarre, even potentially sinister turn.

So who was Joyce Hatto? And what is this bizarre and potentially sinister story?

Joyce Hatto, a little-known pianist who stopped performing as a concert pianist in 1976, struggled with cancer, continued to record - prolifically - for a small label Concert Artist Recordings run by her husband, began to achieve cult status among some classical music critics shortly before her death in July 2006. She was hailed as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of" and “one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced.”

Yes, there had been rumours that her prolific output - well over 100 CDs - covering a wide repertoire seemed suspect, but no one had been able to substantiate the doubts. Until now.

When you put a CD in your computer and run iTune, it would usually recognise it and come up with the correct album and track information for your cataloging purpose (actually it is done by Gracenote in the background). What if you put in a Bob Dylan CD and iTune comes up with Britney Spear information? Normally you would just curse iTune for being bloody useless.

But when someone put in a Joyce Hatto CD of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes and got instead information on the same work by a different pianist on a different label, he felt puzzled and informed a critic who reviewed for Gramophone and Classic Today.com, who concluded he smelled something fishy. Later, scientific analysis of soundwaves seemed to suggest the two were indeed identical. Soon, other cases of supposedly "plagiarism" were found.

To cut a long story short, it is now suggested that a number of Joyce Hatto CDs "were in fact copied from recordings of the same music by other pianists."

So it seems that while most of us have never (heard of or) listened to any CD by Joyce Hatto, those who have may have listened to great piano performances by someone else.

Suppose this is indeed a hoax. The not-yet-answered question is why? For money, or something else?

● Gramophone: Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal
● The New York Times: A Pianist’s Recordings Draw Praise, but Were They All Hers?
● Stereophile: Was Joyce Hatto the Greatest Pianist Almost Nobody Ever Heard Of?
● MusicWeb: Hatto - the greatest pianist(s) that now everyone has heard of!
● Hiperhip: A Strange Story
● Wikipedia: Joyce Hatto

● Pristine Classical: Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax
● AHRC Research: Purely coincidental? Joyce Hatto and Chopin's Mazurkas

● Concert Artist Recordings: Featured Artist: Joyce Hatto
● Boston Globe: After recording 119 CDs, a hidden jewel comes to light - Fans and critics have long overlooked pianist Joyce Hatto
● The Guardian: Obituary - Joyce Hatto


From Classics Today.com:

Will The Real Joyce Hatto Please Stand Up

As I told him [Mr. Barrington-Coupea, Hatto's husband] a few days ago, either he hired an orchestra, engineers, a recording space, a conductor, and paid them all, or he did not. Even Ms. Hatto’s solo recordings were not made just by her husband alone. In short, many others were involved, and they are even credited on the booklet jackets. Let some of these parties come forward and acknowledge their participation. Let Mr. Barrington-Coupe produce receipts, schedules, or whatever documentation is in his possession.

At the heart of this whole controversy, the real question isn’t so much what Hatto and her husband may have done. It is “Why?” As I’ve already pointed out, it’s not difficult in today’s digital marketplace to engineer a fake, but there’s so little money in doing so that one can only wonder why anyone would want to bother. What on earth is the point in taking famous recordings by major artists and issuing them on a vanity label (with no international distribution) as the work of a virtually unknown recluse? The sheer level of chutzpah involved in lifting entire concerto recordings wholesale from major labels ... is either breathtaking, or simply insane.

William Barrington-Coupe did come forth and talked to the Telegraph, insisting that "my wife's virtuoso recordings are genuine", although he offered nothing whatsoever to support his point, in the face of strong evidence to the contrary.


Actors on movies

Watch a short film The First Ones by Jack Paltrow, in which seven actors (Kate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren, Abbie Cornish, Ken Watanabe, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio) talked about the first movies that had a profound impact on them.

Some of these actors (minus Cornish and Wanatabe, add Forest Whitaker) also featured in Newsweek's Oscar Roundtable. A wide range of movie-related topics were discussed.
Short clips of the roundtable


觀影讀書流水賬 18/2/07

Brett Ratner 《X-Men: The Last Stand》 (6/10)
Cameron Crowe 《Elizabethtown》 (7/10)
Petr Zelenka 《Wrong Side Up/Pribehy obycejneho silenstvi》 (8/10)
Samantha Lang 《L'idole》 (4/10)
康祐碩 《實尾島風雲》 (5/10)
馬楚成 《男才女貌》 (3/10)

古華 《色審》



澳洲女導演Samantha Lang在法國拍的《L'idole》,做作,扮有深度,令人坐立不安。
Sandra Hall的影評

相反,Cameron Crowe的《Elizabethtown》,在主流電影中算是有深度有寄託之作,可惜稍嫌拖拉,未達應有成績。

《Wrong Side Up》是部怪雞捷克愛情片,由導演將他的話劇《Tales of Common Insanity》改編而成,一新耳目,不容錯過。在愛情上,你有難題,我也有難題。你也怪怪,我也怪怪。
Prague Post的介紹 | Peter Martin的影評



進門百福話亥豬 (李雄 李富軒,歷史月刊,229期)

中國養豬史 (農業e線)

豬年如意 (人民日報)


Water tank

With Level 5 water restrictions just weeks away from being introduced (all watering of garden to be banned?), I have decided to install a water tank to collect rain water from the roof for gardening and car washing use.

The water tank has already been delivered but not yet installed. Photos will be posted in due course. In the mean time, I can only tell you that it is BIG!

To help you visualise its size, it is cylindrical in shape, with a diameter of 1.75 metres (just under 6 feet) and a height of 2.41 metres (just under 8 feet). It has a capacity of 4,730 litres, i.e. about 12,500 cans of soft drink.



兩百年前 《紅樓夢》走向世界所述,1793年12月9日,“寅貳號”貨船從浙江乍浦抵達日本長崎。船上還載有67種中國圖書,其中一種名為《新鐫全部繡像紅樓夢》,共9部18套。這次航程是《紅樓夢》走向海外的最早記錄。






Brahms in the Limelight, 100 years (and a bit more) after his death

(Original post: 8/2/07)

On the cover of the Limelight magazine (a music|arts|entertainment monthly from ABC, Australia's public broadcaster) was printed:

Nearly 100 years after his death
Why he remains so relevant to
modern audiences

Johannes Brahms died on 3 April 1897, so this issue of Limelight must have been published before April 1997. Right?

Wrong, if you look harder, you will see that this is the current (February 2007) issue!

A general magazine could be forgiven for this gaffe, though it is still hugely embarrassing, given that this is front cover material. For a specialist publication to f-up like this, I honestly can only say that it is hopeless. And to think that I, as a taxpayer, help fund its publication!

I noticed this error yesterday having a quick glance at the magazine at the local Borders bookstore. I was not sure which exact year Brahms died, but I was 100% sure that it couldn't be in the 20th century.

Here's the description of its contents on the ABS Online shop:

In the February issue of limelight, we look at Brahms and why, even 100 years after his death, his music is still relevant and loved today.

Someone must have noticed this horrible mistake after the magazine was printed, since on the magazine's website, the description has been changed to:

In the February issue of limelight, we look at Brahms and why, even more than 100 years after his death, his music is still relevant and loved today.


(Updated: 15/2/07)

Just had the chance to have a quick look at the article. It started with something like this: On 3 April this year, Johannes Brahms would have been dead for 100 years ...

This article was written by a James McCarthy who, from my web search, have an impressive CV in the Australian film and music industry. Hard to understand why he would make such a silly mistake.

Even harder to understand was how come no one from Limelight noticed this error and corrected it, considering the long process from editing the article to writing tag lines for the cover, and the number of supposedly professionals involved.


(Further update: 15/2/07)

Just noticed that this mistake was finally picked up by the Australian media. In the 15/2/07 "The Diary" column by Amanda Meade (who moniters what's happening in the print media), she wrote "Ten per cent free: The ABC's Limelight magazine is marking the centenary of the composer Brahms's death. He actually died 110 years ago."


More on tennis: are women chokers?

Steven Landsburg cites a research by a professor (who I suspect have nothing better to do) which shows that women tennis players are more likely to commit unforced errors on important points than unimportant points. Men, the calm and cool half of the species, do not show such variability.

After toying with stats from Grand Slam tournaments, the professor concludes that when the pressure's on (i.e. when playing the important points), both men and women get more defensive (and by about the same amount)—but only women make more errors.

Women Are Chokers: Studies show they cave under pressure. Why? (Slate, 9/2/07)


- More on first and second serves
- Random thoughts on tennis






觀影讀書流水賬 11/2/07

● Woody Allen 《Scoop》 (6/10)
● Danis Tanovic 《Hell/L'enfer》 (7/10)
● Sophie Fillieres 《Good Girl/Gentille》 (6/10)
● Gore Verbinski 《The Weather Man》 (6/10)
● Stephan Apelgren 《Wallander: The Overdose》 (5/10)
● 章家瑞 《芳香之旅》 (6/10)

● 村上龍 《到處存在的場所 到處不存在的我》


欣賞Woody Allen的《Match Point》,期望他和Scarlett Johansson組合再下一城的人可能要大失所望。《Scoop》只是一部滿是Woody Allen式幽默,不痛不癢的少女與老坑緝兇輕鬆小品。(電影網站

Danis Tanovic的《Hell/L'enfer》虛有其表,令人失望。

L'enfer lacks subtlety

繼《The Weather Man》之後,Steve Conrad又寫了《The Pursuit of Happiness》的劇本。其實,《The Weather Man》又何嘗不是一個pursuit of happiness的故事?(電影網站


村上龍的《到處存在的場所 到處不存在的我》是部短篇小說集,每篇都有一個人物準備出國。正如我在《海鷗食堂》影評中提過,很多日本人對「出國」所持的希望,都是夾雜了嚮往和逃離。


村上龍的書,以前只讀過一本,就是他三十多年前的成名作《接近無限透明的藍》。希望《到處存在的場所 到處不存在的我》不是他的近期佳作,因為它實在只是部平平無奇的作品。




出版總署﹕有查處無禁書 章詒和駁斥官員不懂認錯 - 《明報》,9/2/07)














● 曾堯角落:《伶人往事》遭禁 章詒和的公開聲明


那有「持平」這回事 (2)

從改書報道窺傳媒立場 台歷史課本改版起風波 (楊淑敏,明報,6/2/07)







墨西哥籍的阿加多‧岡薩雷斯‧伊納里多(Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu,港譯艾力謝路依拿力圖,台譯阿利安卓崗札雷伊納利圖)是一個值得一記的名字,他是電影《通天塔》(《Babel》,港譯《巴別塔》,台譯《火線交錯》)的導演,初次驚艶是他拍《愛情是狗娘》(《Amores Perros》,港譯《狗男女的愛》,台譯《愛是一條狗》),三段式錯綜複雜的人性故事。


《通天塔》講的...是世界上不同地區同時發生的故事,美國夫婦布拉德‧彼特(Brad Pitt,畢比特,台譯希萊德彼特)與凱特‧布蘭切特(Cate Blanchett,姬蒂白蘭芝,台譯凱特布蘭琪)在摩洛哥旅行遇到了冷槍,妻子被打中頸部,大巴士被逼停在荒涼村莊等候救援。




Who was Milton Friedman?

Paul Krugman has an answer (New York Review of Books, Vol.54, No.2, 15/2/07).

As can be expected, Krugman is highly critical of Friedman's roles as the economist's economist, the policy entrepreneur, and the ideologue, even claiming that "there were some serious questions about his intellectual honesty when he was speaking to the mass public":

What's odd about Friedman's absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist's economist he was actually a model of restraint. As I pointed out earlier, he made great contributions to economic theory by emphasizing the role of individual rationality—but unlike some of his colleagues, he knew where to stop. Why didn't he exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?

The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy.

● Read comments on Krugman's article from Greg Mankiw's blog and Economist's View.

US files WTO complaint against China over subsidies

More setbacks for Bush policy on China (Steven Weisman, IHT, 4/2/07)

U.S. Files Trade Complaint Against China
USTR: United States Files WTO Case Against China Over Prohibited Subsidies
China voices pity about WTO case on subsidies

--- joetsang.net: China and the WTO ---


觀影讀書流水賬 4/2/07

● 漢寶德 《中國建築文化講座》

● 馮小剛 《夜宴》 (8/10)
● 杜琪峰 《放.逐》 (7/10)
● Christian Volckman 《Renaissance》 (6/10)
● Agnes Jaoui 《Look at me/Comme une image》 (5/10)
● Alexandra Leclere 《Me and my sister/Les Soeurs fachees》 (5/10)





《Renaissance》是套黑白漫畫化的2054年巴黎追兇片。除視覺效果外,無甚足觀。喜歡《Sin City》的或許也會喜歡本片。

《Look at me》又是另一部圍繞法國中產文化人生活的電影。

《Me and my sister》,熱情率直鄉下妹探訪冷漠做作巴黎姐。愛恨交織。俗套得很。






很多人都說,Tom Tykwer在《Perfume》中,將18世紀的巴黎拍得非常髒、亂和臭。當然,這與劇情需要有關-與後來上流生活和香水的香作強烈對比。


我雖對此雖沒有研究,也不能說看過很多「古裝西片」,但我的印象,是近年的西片,在拍攝十七、八世紀的歐洲時,一般比較寫實-如實反映完全追不上現代化和城市化步伐的市政設施。(我在看Peter Webber的《Girl with a Pearl Earring》時也有相同的感受。)


- 在公廁普遍前,由人當街提供流動廁所服務:業者身穿大斗篷,身旁左右各放一桶。客人光顧,即以斗篷圍之,右桶小便,左桶大便。桶滿後即時傾入塞納河。

- 巴黎雖早已明文規定不准當街傾倒糞便,但違規者眾。從樓上傾倒至街中也很普遍,路人常有中「頭獎」的機會。






Labels is a relatively new Blogger feature. I have to assign labels to each and every one of my previous posts (over 1,000!) over the past 4 years.

This task might take days, weeks, or even months I am afraid.


《中國音樂大全 古琴卷》


今次回港,購買的CD不多,但卻非常慶幸買到中國唱片上海公司再版發行的《中國音樂大全 古琴卷》,一套8張。

我愛聽音樂,屬於囫圇吞棗,中外古今亂聽一通之人。但我對中樂(或國樂)幾乎全無興趣,唯古琴是少數的例外。聽古琴,對我有一種洗滌心靈的作用。不時聽聽吳兆基、龔一、張子謙的CD,比甚麼detox program都管用。最近也愛聽李祥霆的琴與簫即興演奏CD系列,雖然一直搞不通何謂「即興演奏」。


劉森民 序言 + 王迪 編者的話 | 周純一 一套無可替代的東方瑰寶

古琴藝術 | 維基百科:古琴 | 李祥霆:古琴不需要搶救式保護

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

(original post: 29/1; updated: 2/2)

That, writes Michael Pollan (author of "The Omnivore’s Dilemma"), is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

Simple isn't it?

The problem is, people just don't like simple answers.

One of those who don't like this "misleading, great-great-grandma-knew-best philosophy" is Daniel Engber, writing for Slate (Survival of the Yummiest: Should we buy Michael Pollan's nutritional Darwinism?).


After more than 1,000 posts ...

... it's time for change, a big change. And you are looking at the end product.

To be honest, I didn't make the change just because I had posted more than 1,000 entries to this blog over the past 4 years (this is the 1,012th). It's just coincidental.

The fact is, I have always been using FTP to publish this blog to my own domain, but it has been a pain in the ass. It's OK if I do simple things such as posting new entries. But the hassle of going through the "publishing" process whenever I try to make changes to the setting or template really kills me.

Publishing under Blogspot is almost instantaneous and offers more fine-tuning options. I have been reluctant to move this blog to Blogspot until today because I always thought that it would be nice to keep everything under my joetsang.net domain.

But it is just impossible. Now I am using several external sites (Flickr, Yahoo Photos, Picasa, Snapfish, etc.) to store photos, and one for a guestbook (seldom used though). I just see no reason why I must keep all my blogs under one roof (in fact, I have already been using Blogspot to host two of my newer blogs).

But what drove me to make the move today was that more than one person reported that when they tried to load my blog under IE, the index page was just a blank one. I tried to find out the reason for that, but to no avail.

So, I thought, why not create a reincarnation of this blog? And I did!

You can continue to use the old address to access this blog, but updating your bookmark to the new Blogspot address provides a direct and quicker access.