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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Brahms Albumblatt fictional story won't rest; updated 2/5/12

Johannes Brahms postmortem photograph

On January 20th I exposed the true story concerning the recent history of the newly discovered Brahms album leaf.    The piece was discovered and identified last Winter prior to it's public sale at Doyle Galleries, New York.  The research and cataloging was done many months before Christopher Hogwood set eyes on the leaf and claimed discovery of the piece.  The story brought out in the press and on BBC radio makes it look as if he's Howard Carter discovering King Tut's tomb!  Of course, by the time Hogwood saw the album, the World Premier had been given in Germany and two scholarly articles had already been published!

Brahms Albumblatt story

This morning, I received a communique from a person who has followed this story and found the following posted on Maestro Hogwood's website 14 days after this story had been well exposed.

Screen capture from the web site this morning 2/3/12

So rather than recant the tale, his site is perpetuating the story by linking to a recently written blog article regarding the "discovery" wholly based upon the BBC/Guardian fiction.  The article goes so far as to compare the conductor to Indiana Jones and even has a photo-shopped photograph of Hogwood's face over a picture of Indiana Jones.....just click on the link below.

From the Blog

Now here is the rub.  We don't know Mr. Hogwood, who is by reputation a fine conductor.  We know he has done quality research in the past and has been awarded accolades at the highest level including honors from the Queen herself.  However, the fictious part about his "discovery" could have been quashed from the start.  When the BBC started insinuating things which simply did not happen, he should have corrected them then and there.  When The Guardian newspaper came out with their yarn, he should have corrected them.    Now 2 weeks after the story was exposed, he has not made any public comment regarding this affair and in fact, his web-site is still perpetuating the tale.

In the scheme of things, this simply is not a very important matter; but, the truth is the truth and Maestro Hogwood did not discover this work.  The right thing to do after this story was exposed would be to come out and tell the musical World that the radio and press story were fabrications and give proper credit to those who did the research many months before he laid eyes on the album leaf.  We are still waiting.....

Update 2/5/12:

From a public posting to Norman Lebrecht's Slipped Disc Blog and Facebook page, we have information concerning what in all likelihood was the World Premiere of the Brahms Album Leaf.  Pianist Craig Sheppard performed the piece as an encore on April 28th 2011 in a public recital!  In his words:

My colleague, Dr. George Bozarth, a Professor of Music History here at the University of Washington in Seattle and a leading member of the American Brahms Society, sent me a link on April 24th, 2011, to the website on which this ‘...newly discovered’ autograph had just been made available. I performed it four days hence, as an encore to my third (of five) recitals in my Mostly Brahms series, on Thursday evening, April 28th, 2011, in Seattle’s Meany Theater. If, in fact, the manuscript had only been released for the first time over the Internet that previous weekend, I might have actually given the world premiere of it. And I have a DVD of the performance (and the memories of several hundred who attended that evening) to prove it! In any case, it is certainly a bit fatuous, even disingenuous, for Christopher to claim discovery of the work.

The post on Norman Lebrecht's Slipped Disc Blog

1 comment:

  1. Ransom Stoddard: You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?

    Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

    —The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance