11 Songs, 1 Hour, 14 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

advocate for music as a balm for mental illness. This recording, an accompaniment to his book on depression and anxiety, is a wide-ranging collection of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Bach, and Puccini, with a breathtaking performance of Beethoven’s profoundly beautiful late-period Piano Sonata op. 110 at its heart, a work written by a composer in the depths of despair. Chopin’s melodies ring out under Rhodes’ fingers—a rare gift—and his affecting way with Bach’s C Major Prelude is instantly soothing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

advocate for music as a balm for mental illness. This recording, an accompaniment to his book on depression and anxiety, is a wide-ranging collection of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Bach, and Puccini, with a breathtaking performance of Beethoven’s profoundly beautiful late-period Piano Sonata op. 110 at its heart, a work written by a composer in the depths of despair. Chopin’s melodies ring out under Rhodes’ fingers—a rare gift—and his affecting way with Bach’s C Major Prelude is instantly soothing.

TITLE TIME
1:52
12:38
12:33
6:49
1:50
11:17
8:21
6:29
4:53
5:22
2:49

About James Rhodes

British pianist James Rhodes has gained considerable renown, combining unorthodox programming ideas and an enfant terrible image with straightforward performance.

Rhodes was born on March 6, 1975, into a middle-class Jewish family in London. He attended the all-male Arnold House School and was sexually abused there by a gym teacher, who died before his trial could be completed. Rhodes heard a recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 ("Emperor") belonging to his father. He asked for and was given piano lessons, but made little progress. Moving to the Harrow School, he studied with Colin Stone, advanced further, and entered the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. He earned a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993.

Considering the idea of becoming a music agent, he wrote to Italian agent Franco Panozzo, enclosing one letter with a bottle of champagne. Panozzo agreed to meet Rhodes, concluded that he should become a pianist instead, and arranged for further teaching. After a period of mental health treatment, Rhodes made his recital debut at London's Steinway Hall in 2008. The following year he appeared in a BBC documentary observing the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth, and in 2010 he was signed to the Warner Bros. label, becoming the first classical pianist signed to the label's rock division.

Rhodes has maintained a full concert schedule, appearing as far afield as Barbados, Hong Kong, and Chicago, where he was featured at the International Beethoven Festival. He has appeared at rock clubs and festivals including the Latitude Festival, where he was the first classical pianist to appear. But he is perhaps best known for his unusually titled albums: 2010's Bullets & Lullabies is representative. Despite their unorthodox titles and concepts, Rhodes has mostly played mainstream classical repertory from Bach to the late Romantics. He has recorded mostly for the Signum Classics label, issuing Fire on All Sides in 2018.

In addition to performing and recordings, Rhodes has written a culture blog for London's Telegraph newspaper and has also written for The Guardian. He has written three books: an autobiography that detailed his sexual abuse, a piano instructional manual, and 2018's Fire on All Sides. ~ James Manheim

  • ORIGIN
    London, England
  • GENRE
    Classical
  • BORN
    03 June 1975

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