Lesson: THE GREAT PIANO SWINDLE (C1-C2)

11. We’re going to take a break from the video to discuss the researchers’ findings.

First, read the text, and then discuss the questions below.

All in all, over a hundred recordings, by 92 other pianists, were found to have been stolen in part or in their entirety by Barry and passed off as Joyce’s work.

Some of these had been edited, to change the speed, reverberation or bass, so that some of the original pianists did not recognise their own work when the “Hatto” CDs were played to them.

For recordings of Joyce playing with an orchestra, Barry had even gone to the trouble of inventing a conductor, Réné Köhler, who was supposedly imprisoned by the Nazis in the 1940s and by the Soviets until 1970. There are no other records of Köhler ever having existed, nor the orchestras that he worked with.

Barry was investigated by the recording industry and was forced to apologise. He admitted to taking portions of other recordings, but denied having stolen entire CDs.

The couple are thought to have made little money from the fraud.

a. What do we learn about Barry’s character from this story?

b. Barry always maintained that Joyce knew nothing about the deception. How credible is this?

c. If not for money, then why would someone do something of this kind?

d. On the next page, we’re going to hear the maker of the documentary interviewing Barry about his actions. How do you think he will react?

e. What would it be better for Barry to do: to make a clean breast of it (admit everything) or to dissemble further (try to explain or to cover what he did)?

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