Bullets and Lullabies (piano: James Rhodes)

Manic masterpieces: an eclectic piano recital for the masses.

I hate to sound like an old fogy here but I guess it’s unavoidable. James Rhodes is a British pianist whose rocketing career is fuelled by media-savvy management, celebrity endorsements and an individual presentational style combining the downmarket look of Nigel Kennedy with a troubled rock star rep: a history of mental issues, a failed marriage, and the inevitable refusal to toe the line. While many classical musicians have had broken marriages and some have suffered breakdowns, few have used that information to market a persona. (Rhodes is a better pianist than David Helfgott, incidentally.) 

Rhodes’ notes on the music are subtly ingratiating: the Toccata from Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin is “me wrestling with London Transport as I head off on the tube to see my shrink”. What it is not, in Rhodes’ splashy rendition, is a meticulous salute to the Baroque clavecinist.The Scherzo from Beethoven’s Sonata Op 31 No 3 suits Rhodes with its snappy sforzandi, but other fast pieces are messy (single movements from sonatas by Alkan and Chopin), while Debussy’s La plus que Lente and Ravel’s Pavane lack poetry. This release is aimed at people who don’t know the music. That’s to be encouraged, no doubt, but the informed fogy can do better.


Copyright © Limelight Magazine. All rights reserved

What are your thoughts on this article? Have your say and leave your comments below.
NOTE: You must be a registered member of Limelight to post a comment.
Click here to login | Click here to register
Please read our guidelines on commenting. Offending posts will be removed and your access may be suspended. Abusive or obscene language will not be tolerated. The comments below do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Limelight or its employees.
Bullets and Lullabies (piano: James Rhodes)
Verdict
2.5 out of 5
Info
Supplier:
Warner
Performers
Current Issue
May 2014 issue on sale now!
What's On
 
Close Get the May 2014 issue of Limelight mailed to you for $8.50, including postage.

Buy now
Subscribe
Digital Version