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alternatively Crotchet

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1848)
4 Mazurkas op.6 (1832) [08:28]
5 Mazurkas op.7 (1834) [11:41]
4 Mazurkas op.17 (1834) [12:32]
4 Mazurkas op.24 (1836) [13:04]
4 Mazurkas op.30 (1837) [10:31]
4 Mazurkas op.33 (1838) [11:05]
4 Mazurkas op.41 (1840) [09:24]
3 Mazurkas op.50 (1842) [10:55]
3 Mazurkas op.56 (1844) [11:38]
3 Mazurkas op.59 (1845) [10:36]
3 Mazurkas op.63 (1847) [06:26]
Mazurka in A minor “à Emile Gaillard” [02:44]
Mazurka in A minor “Notre temps” [03:20]
4 Mazurkas op.67 (pub.1855) [07:24]
4 Mazurkas op.68 (pub.1855) [09:02]
Mazurka in B flat (1825) [01:27]
Mazurka in G (1825) [01:06]
Mazurka in D  (?1829-30) [01:28]
Mazurka in B flat (1834) [01:04]
Mazurka in C (1833) [01:55]
Mazurka in A flat (1834) [01:06]
Eugen Indjic (piano)
rec. Studio Teije van Geest, Germany. The only indication of a date is “pub. Arpège 2001” and “© Calliope 2005”, but these recordings were originally issued in 1988 on Claves CD 50-8812/13.
The recordings were also issued as the work of Joyce Hatto on CACD 9116-2/9117-2 in 2002 and reissued in 2006 with the claim that they had been revised in the last year of her life and newly re-mastered.
CALLIOPE CAL 3321/2 [74:46 + 70:11]

It is my intention, as I gradually re-review the “Hatto” discs I have discussed on this site, to retain the body of the original review. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t expect anybody to believe me if I said it all sounded quite different now, unless I could show that the manipulation had been very drastic indeed. The important thing is that praise or blame is attributed to the person who deserves it.
However, I think I should first record the differences between the present discs and the Hattified version. Just to confuse matters, as I have noted above, the “Hatto” discs in my possession are the 2002 ones, not those on which CHARM based its famous report. It is evident from their findings that the Hattification process had been taken a stage further by then, since they report instances of time-stretching which I don’t find here. Nevertheless, if what I have is a relatively early and unsophisticated piece of Hattification, there is still abundant evidence of an intention to deceive.
Firstly, let me confirm that ALL the performances on the Hattified discs are taken from Indjic. I don’t deal in wave-patterns and whatnot, so let me explain my system. In the very first Mazurka, for example, Chopin has three times marked a “ritardando” – and this becomes five times because of the repeats. Indjic actually makes a ritardando before the written ritardando and returns to his original tempo when the ritardando marking arrives. After that he  slows down again. And the point is that he does it slightly differently each time, sometimes the ritardando is quite marked, sometimes it is very slight indeed. These are things which would stand out even if the Hattified version had the tempo doubled or halved, and in fact they emerge exactly the same in the two recordings. There is also an unmarked drop to mezzo piano at b.49 which is identical. In other words, I wasn’t looking for just a general impression that the performances were the same, though I did get this too. I won’t bore the reader with the details, but with each Mazurka I listened first to “Hatto”, noting two or three little personal touches of the kind that no two pianists would play exactly the same way and confirmed that these points were identical in the Indjic.
I can also state that the timings are all identical, except for the special cases I list below. As is customary with a Barrington-Coupe operation, however, this is not the impression anyone is going to get by looking at the printed timings.
Hattification has attempted to disguise the recording in the following ways:
1) Indjic plays the unnumbered Mazurkas at the end of the second disc, as listed above. The Hattifiers have shifted the first two to the beginning of the first disc, neatly confounding the timings. Amusingly, a plausible musicological justification is provided in the notes. Unlike the other four pieces, which were unpublished during Chopin’s lifetime, these two very early pieces were published, though before he began to attach opus numbers to his music. This is a reminder that when the enterprising burglar isn’t a-burgling, as W.S. Gilbert put it, this particular burglar actually has a very wide knowledge of pianists and piano music.
2) Three seconds of silence have been added at the end of op.34/4 and the posthumous A flat major.
3) Although track 13 is listed as op.17/2, the track actually starts with the trio of op.17/1. Op.17/2 begins at 01:25 of the track.
3) Indjic, or more probably the edition he is using, omits repeats in op.6/4, op.17/1 and op.33/3, to the evident disapproval of the Barrington-Coupe-Hatto camp, who reinstate them! Other omitted repeats are not reinstated, but a particularly ingenious piece of Hattification has been applied to the unnumbered G major. There are two versions of this in the Polish Edition, numbered 53 and 53 bis. By careful juggling with the repeats it is made to appear that “Hatto” plays 53 while Indjic plays 53 bis. This Mazurka gains about 30 seconds in the process.
4) The sound picture has been considerably modified. At a simple level, the Hattified version has had a considerable part of its treble response removed. At the end of op.6/3 the upper note is inaudible in the “Hatto”; in the original it is delicate but present. The last – very high – note of op.7/3 is missing from “Hatto”. Again, it is very delicate but present in the original. Similarly in op.17/2 the high E in b.66 is missing from “Hatto”, present in Indjic. Listening through loudspeakers, you might just think you had missed them. A hearing on headphones confirms their absence, at least at any acceptable listening level. The reduced treble response does not only affect high notes, of course, since every note has within it upper partials which create its timbre. By removing them, what started out as a fairly close, bold and vibrant recording is made to sound distant and somewhat gentle.
This may merely mean that the Hattifiers had a lousy CD copier and this was the best it could do. But really, even the cheapest CD copying system produces results that are identical to the original to all but the most critical ear listening on professional equipment, and this has been so for at least a decade. I therefore doubt if this is the answer, especially as the degree of intervention seems to vary from piece to piece. In op.56/1, for example, the Hattifiers evidently found Indjic sufficiently golden-toned and delicate to leave him almost intact, while the robustness of the following piece is toned down considerably. In some of the perkier posthumous pieces I felt the tone had been lightened and brightened.
Rather, I think the lost upper partials are an inadvertent result of an attempt to create a more “feminine” sound, a sound more suggestive of the beautiful, suffering soul we are told was playing. This sort of diaphanous, golden sound was characteristic of most of the first “Hatto” discs I heard and seems to represent an attempt to create a “Hatto sound”. Later, perhaps at the moment where Hatto herself was no longer able to influence the operation, Hattification threw caution to the winds. The critics had already believed six impossible things before breakfast so why not whet their appetites for lunch? Thus Dukas and Albeniz followed Messaien, with Hindemith and Tippett in the wings …
In a few places, the distancing lends enchantment. Op.6/4 sounds a little plainer in the original version. On the other hand, the playing is revealed to have a wider dynamic range, with greater strength and power where called for, thus heightening the beauty of those moments where Indjic really is very delicate and wistful. I complained before of a certain sameness. I’m not sure that this criticism holds now, or not to the same extent.
Out of fairness, I suppose I should note that my comparisons were with the 2005 Calliope reissue whereas the Hattifiers were obviously working with the 1988 Claves original. It is possible, though unlikely, that Calliope have re-mastered the recording to its advantage and the Claves sounded like the “Hatto”. (We have been informed that Calliope reissued this recording for the first time in 2001, so this would have been the basis for the first "Hatto" version).
Enough of Hatto. Who is Eugen Indjic?
From fleeting internet references I learn that he was born in Belgrade in 1947, that he is American, that he is French and that he is Franco-Canadian. Any other offers? A private source tells me he studied in Boston with Paul Doguereau, who had much earlier taught Earl Wild. More concretely, he came 4th in the 1970 Warsaw Chopin Competition, 3rd in the 1972 Leeds Competition and 2nd in the 1974 Artur Rubinstein Competition in Israel. I actually remember the Leeds event quite well, having followed it on television. This was the occasion where Murray Perahia came first and Craig Sheppard second. I still retain a quite clear mental image of Indjic. I also remember that I felt the jury had got the prize-winners in the right order for once. The subsequent careers of the three would seem to bear this out. Still, even coming 3rd at Leeds would be a dream come true for many excellent pianists who never succeed in getting placed at all. At present Indjic seem to be still active as a performer, adjudicator and teacher. A Google search shows a number of young pianists listing him in their CVs in this latter role.   
What of my original review of the 2002 Hattified version? Readers will note that it was favourable but not exactly a rave, and I ended by preferring another version. I have returned to it, changing names and pronouns and omitting a few things which seem no longer relevant. For instance, I had wondered if the sameness was the result of recording all the music in just two days. Since we don’t know the dates of Indjic’s sessions, this remark is obviously meaningless now. And to think that Hatto, or her husband in her name, actually wrote to me about this point, assuring me that she could take as long as she wished over her recordings … (click here to read the post-Hattogate version of the review).

I haven’t rerun the Milkina and Rubinstein comparisons this time. Certainly, the fuller recording quality of the Indjic original would not be to its disadvantage.

Calliope’s notes are brief and not very helpful. The “Hatto” had fascinating if dated notes taken from a 1900 book on Chopin by James Huneker. Further proof that, when the enterprising Hattifier isn’t a-Hattifying, he has a considerable knowledge of the highways and byways of pianists and piano literature.

Lastly, I suppose we’re all going to get paranoiac about conspiracy theories, but there’s something about the timing of all this that fascinates me. The Indjic recording had long been forgotten. Its reissue in 2005 possibly provoked the hastily re-Hattified “revised and re-mastered” version as a further attempt at disguise. Then came the CHARM report and the scandal and the Indjic recording was conveniently available for sale when the news broke. Did Indjic perhaps recognize his own recording and, feeling he would not gain much by exposure if no one could buy the original, arrange with Calliope for its re-release, tip off CHARM and await results? If so, good luck to him. I think I’d have done the same. (We have been assured that the timing was entirely fortuitous. To avoid any possible understanding, I wish to clarify that I was only hypothesizing a possible "complicity" in the exposure of the fraud, not, of course, in the fraud itself).

The only thing is, Indjic and Calliope risked a rather embarrassing situation. Since transparency towards the public is the big issue here, I must protest that anyone buying this recording would have no reason to suppose it was not made in 2001. A sin of omission rather than commission, no doubt. But if CHARM themselves had not known it was a reissue of an earlier recording, Indjic and Calliope might have hit the headlines for plagiarizing Hatto! Still, an accusation of that kind, subsequently disproved by producing the Claves original, might have boosted sales even more. (We have been informed that French law required this reference to the 2001 edition. However, it is customary nowadays to give the dates and location of the sessions).

Well, whatever, I hope this recording has the success in 2007 it doesn’t seem to have had in 1988. If Indjic cares to set down anything else, I’ll be interested to hear it.  

Christopher Howell

A note from Tony Haywood

Following Chris Howells' exhaustive review of the Indic - Hatto Chopin Mazurkas, he asks if anyone knows any more of this pretty much forgotten pianist, who is now getting some deserved attention, however dubiously! He mentions the 1972 Leeds Competition, when Idjic was third place. I have some personal memories of that occasion, and indeed of meeting him. At that time, I was an apprentice piano technician working for the firm who serviced all the instruments. Not being yet allowed the actual tuning or voicing, my rather menial tasks included polishing the ivories and cleaning out the keybed and soundboard, which meant getting underneath the strings. During the course of this tricky job, done on various days and on different instruments with my boss in attendance, we met most of the competitors, icluding all the finalists. They were all charming and interested in the levels of preparation of the pianos, and they all gave encouragement to this shy 16 year old, particularly Idjic, who seemed totally without ego and snootiness, though I was very young! My chief perk was to watch all the rounds right to the final, and I watched his progress with interest, especially when he played a Chopin selection, including Mazurkas, which I seem to remember were in the University Great Hall. I was sat only yards from them in the final (privileged spot for the technicians) and I vividly recall Idjic and Sheppard playing Rachmaninov 3 with Perahia's Chopin 1 wedged in between. Yes, I also think the jury got it right, but I did always wonder what happened to him, especially as the other two's careers went into orbit pretty quickly. I remember thinking of how well he'd played Chopin and Mozart in the early rounds and wondered whether the Rachmaninov was a gamble. Still, I thought it was odd that he just disappeared, especially as the Leeds has since become better known for the pianists who didn't get first prize...


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