A Distant Murmuration is an art song from the Cracked Voices song cycle, set for soprano, clarinet and piano written by Graham Palmer and Jenni Pinnock.
On her death in June 2006 The Guardian described Joyce Hatto as ‘one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced.’ The 77-year-old Roystonian had been suffering from cancer for thirty years. The treatment was increasingly debilitating and prevented her from giving concerts.
Nevertheless, her hundred-odd CDs revealed an unbelievably versatile talent.
It was not until the following February that the truth was revealed. In New York, Brian Ventura put a Hatto CD into his computer and waited for it to load. When he looked up, he was amazed to find that iTunes had identified the recording as one by a little-known Hungarian called László Simon.
Recording after recording proved to have been faked by Hatto’s sound engineer husband, William Barrington-Coupe. Later he was to claim that his wife had no knowledge of the fraud. ‘I simply let her hear the finished editing that she thought was completely her own work.’ No one will ever know whether Joyce either knew or guessed what was done in her name.