Academy of Disbelief: The first Conversation
|Very often spurious works are of high quality and rich content - so they are not a sham. They are original and differ from other specimen - so they are not counterfeit copy or imitation. They make big evil in the world and try to avoid disclosure - so they are not a joke. Deceivers gain huge profit from their business - so spurious works are not just a hoax. It is enough to estimate annual income from the trade by CDs with spurious music (Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi etc.) - and it becomes clear why artistic swindlers are so interested in eternal existence of their system of mystification and why they do their utmost to maintain it.|
|"I feel obliged to explain to Russian reader and purchaser that the
writer Friedrich Neznansky never has been existed.... Editions of books
began to appear under this name, and the myth had been born - for example,
the existence of a writer Neznansky.
The same people, who are engaged in promotion this name, first came to me with a proposal to create a guild, which would write books for me each month. And I would get money and just put my name on the title-page. When I had refused, they went to Neznansky and received full approval. And the "Turkish March" became a reality. For nine years, every two weeks, this march has tap danced on the counters of bookshops. The whole company has been producing this nonsense".
(Source: Interview by E.Topol "You can not argue with success".)
It is interesting that such practice occurred in the past. Tobias Smollett in his novel "The Expedition of Humphry Clinker" (letter dated June 10) candidly described the manners of a company of writers, who had been exchanging each other's names very loosely, and Smollett portrayed himself under the initial S. "Ghostwriter" also could do support work for "more respectable writer" when the latter had been writing his book.
Composers of the XX century also used "music hacks" while writing their compositions. S.S. Prokophiev (Prokofiev) had been five-times winner of State Premium, People's Artist of the Rossian Federation Republic by 1947. He wrote his compositions in that way: having been written a new composition with the help of piano, he outlined an orchestration of it with pencil marks in clavier. He left a free line between accolades, on which, if necessary, he wrote additional voices. Complex combinations of timbres, intricate intertwining voices were written on separate pages. Then, clavier was given to "qualified assistants" who interpreted Prokophiev's puzzles, consisting "of all reducing signs that one can ever invent", and made orchestration of the clavier of the composition by their director. Prokophiev himself called this stage of creation of new composition as "dictation of scores". In this way Prokophiev had been making his orchestral works since 1925, from the time of his stay abroad. This information is contained in the monograph "The Life of Sergei Prokofiev" by I.V.Nestiev (Moscow, Soviet composer, 1973, page 264). Prokofiev's first assistants were G.Pop-Gorchakov, M.F.Astrov, then subsequently P.Lamm, V.Derzhanovsky, L.Atovmyan (the head of the Moscow committee of composers, among other things), V.Velikanov, A.Vedernikov "and other Soviet musicians". Nestiev explains this method of composing by Prokofiev's desire to avoid tedious manual work. Indeed, Prokofiev managed to avoid it, especially in the last years of his life. Prokofiev turned into permanent patient of doctors in 1945-53, he lived in hospitals and sanatoriums, but his new large works appeared: operas, symphonies, ballets, concerts and oratorios ... (They did not appear in print, but they appeared at premieres).
Mystification (false identity of the author) includes activity of voluntary "literary slaves" and other associations of authors, who voluntarily exchange their names, and foisted attribution of any work to an author without his permission.
Geir Ove Kvalheim whose spurious works and documents' forgery were exposed by police.
|Letters that make ground for bastards (works of irregular, inferior, or
dubious origin) are present in the collection of letters by R.Schumann
(Schumann. Letters, Moscow, "Music", v.1, 1970, v.2, 1982): some
letters inform about Schumann's works, which the composer never printed
during his lifetime; Schumann points out another number of his compositions
created before 1840 than it is known today; serial of letters by Schumann
to his mother is written in a style reminiscent of French novels and different
of the overall style of letters by Schumann. Actually, a lot of surviving
letters by Schumann is astounding - there are thousands of them. Publishers
promise to continue to publish letters "by Schumann", which are
stored in archives yet.
Another example is from the literature. Collected works by Anton Chehov (Chekhov) include several volumes of letters of the writer. In them, among other things, the writer tells his recipients in great detail about several novels, which are been writing by him. In particular, the letter to A.M.Evreinova on March 10, 1889: "... for my novel, which now occupies me. Oh, what a novel! ... You should be promised it by November .... half the personages says "I do not believe in God", there is a father whose son went to hard labor for armed resistance ... " etc.
But, as we know, no Chehov's novels exist (except for the big story "Drama on the hunt" published by Chehov in his lifetime). There is no trace of them, no outline. We regard these letters describing Chehov's novels as a ground that some unknown person has made intending to pass a bastard novels off as Chekhov's novels (of course, "found in the papers" after his death). Obviously, unknown person had not implemented this intention. Letters, which were made by him in advance, are left, they are printed in editions of Chehov's works.
Generally, reasonable person would not read any letters of famous people. Just because he asks the question: where do these letters come from?
Indexes for composers of the past (Vivaldi, A.Scarlatti, D.Cimarosa, etc.) list a huge amount of operas supposedly written by them.
D.Cimarosa - 98, though they can actually show you only partitures of "Secret Marriage" and "Impresario". "Impresario" wanders from one composer to another, and most recently he was noticed as an aria by A.Salieri on the disk of "Salieri Album" (Cecilia Bartoli),
G.Paisiello - 108, they can actually show you only 4 or 5 scores of operas,
A.Scarlatti - 59, they can actually show you only single opera scores.
It does not matter that nobody has ever seen these operas. No one asks, where this list is taken from. In a time operas will begin to appear under names from these lists, allegedly found recently.
Another example: composer-violinist Viotti. All references say that he has written dozens of concerts. At the same time, these concerts really do not exist, only two concerts (G-dur and a-moll) has been composed yet; one of them circulates on CDs (a-moll), and the style of it is a style of music of the middle of the XIX century.
This method is called the reservation of seats for the future.
Long investigation and trial were completed in September 2012: Geir Ove Kvalheim, one Norway collector and screenwriter, was sentenced to 2 years of prison. He sold several forged manuscripts and printing books for as much as 1 million crones.
"Prosecutors... claimed ...that Kvalheim had skillfully tried to mislead and confuse police investigators in a swindle "that could have changed Norway’s cultural history". They called his ... forgeries “well-planned” and that he was determined to profit from them".
"The alleged fraud was only revealed when Kvalheim sensationally claimed to have discovered fragments of a previously unknown Ibsen play, The Sun God, a find that would have changed Norwegian literary history."
"Prosecutors believe Kvalheim wrote the alleged Ibsen play himself, saying the ink used in the handwritten document was first produced in 1989. Ibsen died in 1906."
"Lars Frode Larsen, a Hamsun expert who was one of the first to raise the alarm, said that he could not think of a literary forgery of such magnitude since the fake Hitler diaries in 1983."
(Source: "Strange case of a fake Ibsen play that has gripped Scandinavia", "Suspect faces prison in Ibsen, Hamsun forgeries").
|Examples: concealment of original texts by Shevchenko, Kotlyarevsky -
these texts are concealed by rule and its assistants engaged in cultural
activities for a hundred years;
reconstruction of destroyed churches in Moscow and Kiev;
exhibiting an imitation of valuable art painting in some museum, assumed for the original, while the original was stolen and sold;
operas and plays at our opera and drama theaters, which are always in a distorted form.
Readers believe that while reading books from modern publishers they see a work of an author, whose name is printed on a book's title-page, in its original form - in the form the author has done his text and wanted to see his text. Yes, it is basically so regarding to lifetime editions of modern authors. While preparation of a book publisher must co-ordinate editing (correcting) a manuscript with an author. But there is complete arbitrariness regarding to publications of dead authors (even regarding to editions of authors who have been died just recently). If you take any classical literature - domestic or foreign - in quite a serious publication, where the editors provide commentary in the explanation of the origin of the printed text and editing it, you can see such phrases as:
"... The text is reproduced by modern standards of spelling and punctuation, except when the need arises to preserve the peculiarities of spelling that have pronunciation meaning" (serial "Library of world literature", vol. 57, p. 647, edited in USSR);
"Modern editions of "Hamlet" are a set of texts of the second quarto and folio, taking into account individual interpretations of the text of the first quarto. For centuries, different publishers collected versions of the text differently ... Most original editor of Shakespeare was G.Wilson in the XX century. He boldly included his guesses into the text... we have included in this book the text edited in 1899 by Edward Dowden" (Hamlet, selected translations, Moscow, Rainbow, 1985).
Thus, all the text affected by the changes: from editing of spelling, which sometimes means serious falsifications, till complete reconstruction and compilation of the text pulled from various publications.
What is the cause of such adulterations? As you might guess, each republication allows people involved in its preparation to earn. Therefore, they shove there all sorts of improvements and additions.
|We know few about authors of the past. Printed books with texts or notes, which bear the name of an author, are almost all that tells about some author's existence. Biographies of the great writers of the past are fabricated or significantly distort the history, they are based on unreliable data. Generally, all that we know about the past, we know from books or from stories of historians. But historians had not lived in the past, they have no the time machine in their disposal. Their data also is drawn from the remnants of printing and writing products of former times, or historians regurgitate the views of other historians and authors of articles on the subject of interest.|
|We used this method while investigating R.Schumann's original works, and it allowed to discover that only printed editions of op. 3, 4, 5, 11, 14, 61, 67 were mentioned in Schumann's lifetime press (reviews by critics in newspapers and musical magazines). Some others works by Schumann had been performed in public and had been reviewed in lifetime press (op. 31 ¹1, op. 25 ¹1, op. 38, 50, 54, 81 and "Faust"), but there had been no reviews of their editions. Their print publications, obviously, had not been done during the life of Schumann. Other works attributed to Schumann are a fiction of musicologists and other people somehow related to Schumann.|
|This identity implies the identity of the print on pages of the issue
- the most important factor. Identical aspect of imprint on each page
with the same number in any copy of the issue protects the authenticity
of the issue in circulation absolutely. For example, the following fragments
from the scan-pages of the edition of "Hamlet" by Shakespeare
(1611), from two copies of it from the British Library, show that imprints
of pages are identical (in all the features of the font, in the same distances
between the lines and words etc.) and, therefore, these specimens really
belong to the same issue.
Fragment of the 1st page of Hamlet; 3rd quarto, 1611 by Shakespeare in two copies from the British Library:
1st copy: Shelfmark: C.71.b.2 Provenance unknown, purchased before 1840,
2nd copy: Shelfmark: C.34.k.4 Provenance: David Garrick, bequeathed 1779.
|"How to make a masterpiece of trifles"
In January of this year one of the most valuable lots in the auction "Sotheby's" in New York was a terra-cotta relief by Donatello. Until 1990 it had been thought as work of some unknown master of Donatello circuit ... With such a provenance relief was put up for auction 16 years ago, but was not purchased. And what happened then? Restoration works that removed layers of paint and plaster off the relief have shown that it was made by Donatello in 1450 for the church in Lissaro di Mestrino. What a luck! A trifle has been turned into a masterpiece. Soon the relief has been sold for $ 4.44 million in the auction "Sotheby's". The product has been purchased by Kimbell Art Museum in Texas <...>
Take another auction "Dorotheum", which has recently completed the tender devoted to the anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It should be noted that 2006 year in Austria was entirely devoted to the 250th anniversary of the great composer. International auction was held in Mozart's hometown of Salzburg. 222 lots - things of the composer - all have been sold. However, they attributed them very slippery and carefully. For example: "Two portraits attributed by experts in the time of Mozart's youth. The first portrait, perhaps (!), depicts Mozart himself, the second, presumably (!), depicts composer's sister Maria Anna". Both lots were sold, although clear proofs of these facts were not provided. They bought "a handwritten copy (!) of "German operetta" dated 1779. Manuscript, according to the researchers, is a part of the libretto of Bolzano, Charles Joseph Weiss, which was considered lost (!) long ago. Mozart together with Andreas Schahtner had used the manuscript of the work as the basis for an opera "Zaide" - fragment from musical drama, the story of creation of which is still unknown" (!) Chest of drawers of the middle of the XVIII century, perhaps (!), made in Salzburg was sold for big sum of money. "Artefact has been preserved in its original condition with minor injuries and scratches. It is likely (!) a part of the decor of the house where Mozart was born". They bought also "British mobile piano dated back to 1780 year. Presumably (!), it had been belonged to Mozart".
And so it remained unclear what European collectors had been able to buy? Things of Mozart or voluntary fantasies about his things? But, as it has already been mentioned, all this antiquities had gotten the weight and significance through the sale in auction. In future these things a priori would be taken for original, regardless what they are in fact".
(These quotes are from articles on this page in our translation from Russian)
|The latest revision of this page: Dec 22, 2012
© N.V.Vertiklimov, 2011 - 2012
Academy of disbelief. Revelations of imposture and substitution in field of history and culture.