David Harbin writes:
>So it is gratifying to read in the latest Private Eye (23 Nov, p14):
> "... Then there are the critics who were duped, not least
> Gramophone's Bryce Morrison, who eulogised Hatto's release of
> Rachmaninov's 3rd piano concerto in a feature for Intelligent
> Life magazine as "among the finest on record", while condemning
> a Yefim Bronfman recording as feeble. As we now know, the Hatto
> release and the Bronfman recording were one and the same, which
> leaves Morrison distinctly egg-faced ..."
I for one am uncomfortable about this Roman Holiday mentality surrounding
Hattogate, at least in so far as it's been used as a cudgel to belabour
It all depends on what you expect. Personally, when I read a review,
I am looking for a well-written, engaging piece, informative about
the music and giving me a personal, subjective view on performance and
recording. I am not looking for a "definitive" (awful word!), objective
critical judgement of Solomon. The subjectivity is what makes a review
worth reading, before we throw it in the bin.
Mr Morrison responded as he did to Joyce Hatto's Rachmaninov, largely
because as he listened he had before him the vision of a plucky, little
old lady battling not only Rachmaninov but cancer. He responded as most
of us I hope would, with generous admiration for her remarkable achievement.
Unless we're looking for a mechanised objectivity which would be intolerable
even it were achievable, I think we should rather applaud his humanity
than deride his critical acumen.
In any case, he had the excuse that the original recording quality had
been monkeyed with, and - to my mind - improved! No, the critics here
are amongst the victims, not the criminals. However entertaining,
smarty-pants commentaries after the event are simply vulgar.
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK
"ZARZUELA!" The Spanish Music Site
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