Limerick of the Day, Plus Further Musings About the Joyce Hatto Affair

On the blog University Diaries:

The critics’ acclaim for Joyce Hatto
Had reached an impossible plateau,
And her falling from grace
Was quite clearly a case
Of her spouse over-egging the gateau.

— Rex Lawson

But: “Quite clearly”?

Most people seem to be partial to the theory that the fraudulent recordings were entirely the work of Ms. Hatto’s husband, and that she herself was either already dead or too sick to realize what was going on. That seems likeliest to me, too — but then I wonder whether I’m giving in to the same sweet tooth, the same desire to connect the available dots in this affair in such a way as to create a sentimental story I would enjoy believing — The grief-stricken widower, bitter about the rotten deal his wife got out of life, madly tries to recreate the career he thinks she should have had! How human! How forgivable! — that same desire to believe that caused some music critics never to question the legitimacy of her 120 CDs, a discography that looks in 20/20 hindsight to be just begging to be questioned. Without knowing the first thing about Joyce Hatto, I find myself not wanting to believe that she had any part in the fraud, but where does that come from? Why do I prefer to believe that an artist of any merit could not be capable of this, when I know perfectly well that plenty of artists, some of them quite great, have been perfectly capable of worse fraud than this? Really, for all I can tell right at the moment, Joyce Hatto may have been in on every detail of the scheme. Or not. No way of knowing.

Yet I want to believe she didn’t know. Why? Sweet tooth, maybe.

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