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Vitamin C (James Rhodes)

James Rhodes (piano) (Signum Classics)

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

Vitamin C
Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3; Nocturne in C sharp minor etc; plus pieces by JS Bach
James Rhodes (piano)
Signum SIGCD851 (digital only)   70:03 mins 


A ‘monster dose of Vitamin C for the soul’ is how James Rhodes describes his new album of pieces that ‘have had the most impact on me and given me the most comfort’. While not discounting the music’s therapeutic value, the programme itself – mostly Chopin, followed by Bach – ignores the interesting possibilities of juxtaposing these composers, making no connections on either contrapuntal grounds or through their mutual predilection for dance forms. Rhodes’s playing tends on the indulgent side – the opening Mazurka, Op. 17/4 acquires Satie-esque stasis. Rhodes includes two posthumously published Chopin pieces, including the Nocturne in C sharp minor, which he plays well. The Op. 39 Scherzo and underrated Op. 36 Impromptu sound a little pedestrian. Most worrying of all is the lack of momentum in the first movement of Sonata No. 3; Rhodes takes about five minutes longer than most pianists. He favours soothing Bach, and ends with a Vikingur Ólafsson transcription but fails to match the Icelandic pianist’s feeling for delicacy.


John Allison