by Grania Spingies
I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of James Rhodes (I don’t own a TV, never have) until I saw a tweet from Stephen Fry.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) May 20, 2015
James Rhodes is a concert pianist, and when he tried to publish his autobiography his ex-wife sought an injunction to bar it on the grounds that it would cause their son mental distress.
He pretty much had me at classical pianist, so I bought the book.
It’s hard to find adjectives that describe the experience of reading it. Beautiful. Raw. Resilient. Passionate. It’s essentially the autobiography of a man in love with music, a man who struggles with depression daily after having been raped repeatedly as a child while at boarding school. But it isn’t a story of horror, it’s the story of surviving (even when he has to deal with unwanted tics that dog him even during his public recitals). It’s interlaced with stories about composers, compositions, living, victories, facing one’s inner demons and hilarious observations about being human.
It’s also a treasure trove (to me) of recommendations, not so much of actual compositions, but of a particular recordings of those compositions. I’ve pretty much had to read the book with Google and a pen and paper in hand.
Here’s a short interview after the court verdict.
Here’s a TEDx Talks Oxford performance.
What are you reading now?