Book - 2014
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James Rhodes' passion for music has been his absolute lifeline. It has been the thread that has held him together through a life that has encompassed pain, conflict and turmoil. Listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatised teenager or discovering an Adagio by Bach while in a hospital ward - such exquisite miracles of musical genius have helped him survive his demons, and, along with a chance encounter with a stranger, inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today. This is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken and surprisingly funny - James' prose is shot through with an unexpectedly mordant wit, even at the darkest of moments. An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.
Publisher: Edinburgh :, Canongate Books,, 2014.
ISBN: 9781782113379
Characteristics: xx, 275 pages. ; 22 cm.


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Apr 11, 2018

I don't read many memoirs but after hearing James Rhodes on a podcast I was intrigued. I read the introduction and was hooked by it's brash honesty. There are many ways that someone could, well, not enjoy, but benefit from reading this book. First of all, his enthusiasm for classical music is infectious and rekindled my love for it. I no longer feel like I don't know enough about composing or playing music to enjoy it. Second, his brutal honesty about himself and thought process really makes you analyze your own mental processes and have more empathy towards those with mental illness. Finally, the inspirational side of his memoir about overcoming both self-inflicted and external abuse and doing whatever one loves no matter what creates a narrative to inspire everyone.

mebsie Sep 01, 2015

Yes, this is a powerful memoir and to give it the respect I think it deserves, I have purchased the book and I plan to read it while listening to the cited music; the better to understand what I am reading.

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