WHO: Haruki Murakami
WHAT: ABSOLUTELY ON MUSIC:
Conversations with Seiji Ozawa
WHEN: Published by Knopf November 15, 2016
WHERE: The author lives near Tokyo.
WHY: “A work that general readers will enjoy
and the musical cognoscenti will devour.
“The edited texts of six engaging conversations about music between the celebrated Japanese writer and the noted conductor who led the Boston Symphony Orchestra for nearly 30 years. Although Murakami identifies himself as an ‘amateur,’ we learn throughout these discussions that he has been a longtime collector of classical recordings, a longtime listener, and a habitual member of audiences at classical concerts and operas. His knowledge of music is beyond impressive, as anyone who has read his novels already knows. He loves jazz, and one of the most interesting passages involves exchanges about blues in Chicago in the 1960s. Ozawa also declares a deep admiration for Louis Armstrong.
“Each conversation focuses on a certain aspect of Ozawa’s career, and the flow is generally chronological. We learn about his early experiences with Leonard Bernstein, and throughout, the conductor praises his early mentor, Hideo Saito; a later exchange deals comprehensively with the group Ozawa helped establish in his honor, the Saito Kinen Orchestra. Ozawa is quick to praise—individual musicians, older conductors, composers, orchestras — and hardly says a discouraging word about anyone or anything, save his early experience conducting Tosca in Milan when he was startled to hear booing. (It disappeared as his engagement went along, however.)
“We learn a lot about his work habits — for example, his fierce study of scores in preparation for performances — and his techniques for handling the immense demands on his time. He also states a deep conviction that the conductor’s task is to ‘convert the music exactly as it’s written into actual sound.'” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Intriguing insights about the nature of music…these conversations
are High Fidelity for classical music fans.” —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY
“Fascinating anecdotes…probing and perceptive…for lovers of classical music and fans of Murakami.” —Larry Lipkis, LIBRARY JOURNAL
Translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin.
Knopf. 325 pages. $27.95 ISBN 978-0-385-35434-9
Publicist for this title:
Gabrielle Brooks | 212-572-2152 | firstname.lastname@example.org