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Razor Blades, Little Pills And Big Pianos / James Rhodes

Release Date: 04/28/2009 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 153   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachLudwig van BeethovenFrédéric ChopinMoritz Moszkowski
Performer:  James Rhodes
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This excellently engineered recital showcases an immensely talented pianist with something to say, and I look forward to hearing more.

The title, the photos, and the booklet notes aim to position 34-year-old James Rhodes as classical music's answer to Sid Vicious or Iggy Pop, an impression fueled by this pianist's past struggles with drug abuse and self-mutilation, together with his determinedly "unclassical" platform manner. But listen without looking and you'll discover a sensitive and imaginative artist with a lyrical gift and a bell-like keyboard touch. The Bach G major French Suite's quicker movements evoke a fuller-bodied manifestation of Glenn Gould's hair-trigger articulation, while the opening
Read more Allemande boasts inventive ornamentation in the repeats, and the slow-moving Sarabande oozes concentration and sustaining power. The Bach/Busoni Chaconne stands out for Rhodes' steady deliberation and an insidious cumulative arc.

Conversely Rhodes' flexible pulse throughout the Beethoven E minor sonata underscores the first movement's points of tension and the second movement's almost Schubertian melodic trajectory. Also note Rhodes' uncommonly clear articulation of the first movement's difficult, rapid rotary figurations.

The Moszkowski and Bach/Siloti encores exude old-school charm and mastery. My only quibble concerns Chopin's Fourth Ballade, where Rhodes' broad tempos and slightly discursive rubatos cause the music to ramble, in contrast to similarly subjective yet more cogently structured interpretations by Ivan Moravec and Claudio Arrau. All in all, this excellently engineered recital showcases an immensely talented pianist with something to say, and I look forward to hearing more.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

French Suite no 5 in G major, BWV 816 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Rhodes (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Sonata for Piano no 27 in E minor, Op. 90 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  James Rhodes (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
Ballade for Piano no 4 in F minor, B 146/Op. 52 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  James Rhodes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 5th movement, Chaconne by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Rhodes (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Ferruccio Busoni. 
Characteristic Pieces (8), Op. 36: no 6, Etincelles by Moritz Moszkowski
Performer:  James Rhodes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Prelude in B minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Rhodes (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Alexander Siloti.
This is a free arrangement of the Prelude in E minor, BWV 855a, from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Worst performance of Chopin Ballade #4 I've heard February 17, 2012 By Robert J. (Seattle, WA) See All My Reviews "The performance of Chopin's Ballade #4 on this disc is the most pathetic attempt at performing this masterwork I've ever heard committed to recording. The pianist's technique was abysmal in ever aspect - clumsy, wrong notes, dreadful trills - you name it: it was awful. I wouldn't own this CD on a bet." Report Abuse
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