American Pianist Archie Chen was presented with the challenge of a lifetime this year when the BBC called with the opportunity to play for their forthcoming drama by Victoria Wood “Loving Miss Hatto”- a biopic on the famous fraudster of classical music, Joyce Hatto.
The challenge was to record some of the most difficult repertoire in piano literature including Godowsky’s studies on Chopin’s Etudes. His debut on the screen comes just in time for the launch of his new CD ‘Chopin’ – a project which took 2 years to complete and celebrates all of the Impromptus, as well as a Ballade, Scherzo and Etude of the Polish genius Frederic Chopin
Loving Miss Hatto, which will air at 8.30pm on Sunday 23 December 2012 on BBC One charts the incredible story of pianist Joyce Hatto, her relationship with her husband and the fraudulent recordings that made her famous late in life. A story which Chen had been previously told by his teacher in the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dr John O’ Conor, as he fell prey to her fraud and was revealed as the performer on two of her Beethoven releases. With a twist of irony, Chen himself is the pianist playing in the movie and not the actress Francesca Annis and Maimie McCoy who play both Hatto’s at different periods of her life.
Of working on Loving Miss Hatto, Chen says, “Movies like this don’t come along very often and I’m in such a privileged position to be involved in this project. Throughout the whole process, it has served as a catalyst toward my artistic development. I really relished the challenge of learning the most fiendishly difficult Godowsky Studies in the two week time limit. It may sound sadistic but working under pressure really makes me tick and it’s such a rewarding sense of accomplishment when you see/hear the end product. The hardest part was putting in the mistakes!”
“Loving Miss Hatto” airs at 8:30 pm on Sunday, December 23 on BBC One. Archie Chen’s “Chopin” CD is available on iTunes and Amazon.