This Day in the History of Hoaxes: September 3

September 3, 1934: Paul Klenovsky Exposed
For five years, British conductor Sir Henry Wood had attributed an orchestration of Bach's Organ Toccata and Fugue in D minor to an otherwise unknown young Russian man named Paul Klenovsky. The orchestration was highly praised. But finally, on this day, Wood admitted he himself was Klenovsky. He perpetrated the ruse, he said, to demonstrate the lavish praise bestowed by critics on anyone with a high-sounding foreign name. "Klen" was the Russian word for a maple tree (i.e. a type of wood).

This Day in History

Posted on Wed Sep 03, 2014


And predictably, after he came clean, the critics started panning the arrangement as hackneyed, old-fashioned and unoriginal.

Sir Henry Wood will live on in the hearts of music lovers forever, not so much for Klenovsky as for founding the Proms (and his Fantasia on British Sea Songs, often played at the Last Night). The critics will... well, the little pre-hipsters are forgotten already.
Posted by Richard Bos  on  Thu Sep 04, 2014  at  02:51 AM
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