“Oh what a huge and interesting looking book”, the book seller at my local book shop said while handing “Playlist” over. And she is right. James Rhodes’ latest book is another journey into the (for many) strange and foreign world that is classical music. A world that is inhabited by heroes like Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Schubert. Those heroes gave us music that is still listened to after all these centuries – one wonders if today’s pop stars are to be known in a hundred years time.
“They changed history, inspired millions and are still listened to and worshipped all around the world today.”
James Rhodes devoted his life to classical music and tries to lure people – his audience, his followers on social media – into it, tries to get this music down to earth, back to ordinary people who have no idea what “symphony” or “étude” mean. And who listen to it with the help of a streaming service and their ear buds in comfy clothes while knitting on their sofa or typing this blog. Maybe James Rhodes is successful on his mission because he is not an ordinary pianist (as I wrote a couple of times before) – and because he writes and tweets the same way he addresses his audiences, telling them more about his favourite composers (and while chatting to people when signing books or CDs). In “Playlist” he offers a list of classical pieces assembled on Spotify and information about them and their composers including their personal life.
“I’m sorry. There are lot of capital letters in that paragraph. It’s just hard not to get overexcited when talking about Schubert.”
Because the book is a big – the size of an LP actually – picture book with beautiful illustrations (by Martin O’Neill) and enthusiastically written chapters intended to be read while listening to the accompanying piece of music, it is the perfect book sitting on your living room table patiently waiting to be picked up again for a re read or just enjoying its beauty while flipping through it. So, if you are looking for a Christmas gift for a loved one, or for yourself or if you are just interested in James Rhodes and classical music, this is the perfect book to start.
James Rhodes: Playlist – The rebels and revolutionaries of sound, £ 17.