MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Jimmy: James Rhodes Live in Brighton
Track listing below review
rec. live, December 2011, The Old Market, Brighton, UK
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD308 [37:27 + 47:30]

Experience Classicsonline

James Rhodes is awesome. A lot of people are going to shudder at the cover photo and the title “Jimmy,” looking like a second-rate pop album, and a lot of them are going to shudder when they find out that this live concert recording preserves all of Rhodes’ chatting with the audience. They can click the back button. James Rhodes cuts through the shroud of the classical mystique to play music for the non-specialist audience the way it should be played: with approachability, without condescension, with a great teacher’s ability to share his sense of awe with students, and without overt pandering or phoniness. In all his albums, and in his liner-notes, and on his Twitter, Rhodes is obviously being himself. It’s not a marketing image: he really is this passionate about classical music, and this passionate about sharing it with everybody even if they’re wearing jeans and platinum dyed hair and pocketing their iPhones. Plus, he is a very good pianist. And that’s awesome.
Live in Brighton is an 85-minute concert from December 2011, about 64 of music and 21 of Rhodes talking about his program. The music, lest there be any doubt, is handled well: the Marcello/Bach adagio is a moving prayer to the piano, which Rhodes says he plays to calm his nerves and which definitely works for me. The Beethoven “Waldstein” isn’t perfect, but it is very good. The slow intermezzo is handled with tenderness and the first movement flows wonderfully, but Rhodes hasn’t quite learned how to bring off the finale’s first bars with magical softness, or how hard he can attack the minor-key episodes later on. First movement repeat is omitted. Who wouldn’t want to hear such glorious music twice?
Rhodes plays the Chopin/Balakirev Romanze with tenderness and sensitivity which has made this one of his signature pieces, then turns around and delivers the best performance of the night in the Bach/Busoni Chaconne, built with the vision and unwavering power of a cathedral, but also passionately romantic. I don’t know how you combine a full plunge into the manic-depressive emotional swing of this music with an ability to make it hang together structurally, but James Rhodes pulls it off as well as anybody. The very small audience knows it. The program also includes a few smaller encores: a fiendish Moszkowski etude which comes off, for all its difficulty, as a light little after-dinner trifle exactly as intended; a lovely Schumann/Liszt Widmung, and an “In the Hall of the Mountain King” in which Rhodes has as much fun as can be legally had on a piano in a public place. There’s Rachmaninov’s Prelude in C sharp minor too, but I’ve heard that so many times now that my favorite part was Rhodes admitting he hadn’t planned to play it.
Now about the talking. Rhodes himself is very modest about his chatting in the (awesome) booklet, saying, “you can very easily … remove it entirely from your iTunes library should you get bored senseless by my voice.” But “I’ve often wished that more classical musicians would take the time to communicate to their audience during their concerts, and I hope you’ll indulge me for doing so.” Indulgence granted: Rhodes is a gifted communicator, and although he comes across as rather shy and mumbly at times, this is in his favor. If he was as charming as Eric Idle’s emcee from Flying Circus, there’d be something very suspicious about it. What makes Rhodes a gifted talker is his natural ability to explain music to the audience: he compares Beethoven’s experimentation with new pianofortes to people queuing up to buy iPhones; he is hilarious on Chopin’s unrequited loves; he gets the audience in stitches explaining why Bach was “the baroque Keith Richards”; Remember, JSB sired 20 children. He’s also keen to explain what he hears in each work, and why he wants to play them.
Isn’t that a good idea? I don’t see why it’s so foreign for an artist giving a recital to turn to the audience and say, “here’s why I really love this music, and why I want to play it for you.” I don’t fully understand the philosophy of the classical performance being like an art gallery: look with awe and appreciation, and if you don’t get it, read the plaque/booklet. Art galleries do tours. They have wine tastings and eager docents and the Tate Britain has little stations where you can pick up a pencil and try to copy what you see. Classical music has James Rhodes. Actually, a lot of this century’s performers are more accessible to their audiences, especially thanks to Twitter and the rise of the after-concert reception. I once attended one where a young pianist asked Hélène Grimaud for advice and she said, “If you can do anything other than play the piano, do that instead.” It can only be a force for good, I think. That is to say, I love dressing up and staring down people who clap between movements, too, but I also love seeing an audience get really engaged with the music when they weren’t expecting to do so.
What stands out about James Rhodes is that he’s not trying to connect with his audience so much as he is trying to connect his audience directly to the music. He’s a tattooed, profane, and profoundly gifted ambassador for the music he loves. He is, in a word, awesome. If there’s someone in your life who says things like “I like hearing classical music but don’t know much about it,” give this album to them for Christmas. Trust me.
Brian Reinhart 

Track listing

Alessandro MARCELLO (1699-1747)
Adagio, from Concerto No. 3 in D minor (arr. Bach, BWV 974) [4:38]
Jimmy on classical music and Beethoven [7:07]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C, “Waldstein,” Op 53 [22:16]
Jimmy on Moszkowski [1:39]
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Etude in F, Op. 72 No. 6 [1:49]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3 No. 2 [4:10]
Jimmy on Chopin [4:17]
Frydryk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Romanza, from Piano Concerto No. 1 (arr. Balakirev) [10:07]
Jimmy on Bach [4:27]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Chaconne in D minor, from BWV 1004 (arr. Busoni) [14:29]
Jimmy on encores and Schumann [1:59]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Widmung (arr. Liszt) [4:30]
Jimmy on Grieg [1:02]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
In the Hall of the Mountain King (arr. Ginzburg) [2:34]







Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Error processing SSI file