Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Unravelling Scandal

I've been in bed with an assortment of drugs (painkillers mostly) for the last three days; CARMEN was a tremendous strain, but it was really the Amanpuri that finished me off.  However, in retrospect the Amanpuri fiasco seems more comedic than tragic.  Even though it seems abundantly clear that my currently being laid up with dengue fever is a direct result of the trip to Phuket.

On the other hand, the Bundit scandal, which started off as something mildly amusing, is now turning into a global can of worms.  The letter which Klaus Heymann sent me evoked responses within a matter of hours.  A young Thai opera fan named Parkorn, for instance, wrote: "I have compared "Royalty-Free" Let The Bright Seraphim with the recording from Joan Sutherland - The Art of the Prima Donna, a studio recording with Francesco Molinari-Pradelli conducting the Royal Opera House Orchestra. Exact match."

Surely these can't all be misunderstandings, errors in software, or simple cases of mistaken identity.  It's clear that, though his intentions might have been innocent enough, K Bundit's crafty marketing ploy was tragically flawed because his source was flawed.  Far from being a major player in the classical compilation sweepstakes, it turns out he is not even a major a player in the resultant piracy scandal.

I do hope he follows my advice, which is to remove any even remotely suspect items from the market until the matter is cleared up.  Unfortunately that would entail taking the entire compilation series off the market.  That would be the safest thing to do.  There are plenty of performances that CAN be licensed for compilations from sources that are not suspect.  It shouldn't take long to assemble an equally impressive compilation from such sources -- or, with a bit of investment, to record them himself with a decent orchestra.  Bulgaria and Czech Republic are good sources if he'd like to make his own recordings with orchestras that can be deemed "international", and they are as cheap as the Bangkok Symphony.  

Thailand is always being accused of being a haven for piracy. It would be a shame if one of Thailand's best known artistic figures became a piracy "poster boy" ... especially if he had no intention of using material that might not have been legally obtained.

In my next blog I will talk only of positive things :)

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