Absolutely on Music

Conversations

Publisher: Anchor Canada
A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Haruki Murakami's passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and from The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" to Franz Liszt's "Years of Pilgrimage," the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books.
     Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk, over a period of two years, about their shared interest. Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here they discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more. Ultimately this book gives readers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of the two maestros.
     It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere.

PRAISE FOR

"Readable, accessible, highly entertaining, educational. Ozawa provides all the deep knowledge of a storied classical career, while Murakami supplies his trademark down-to-earth metaphors and a layperson's curiosity." —San Francisco Chronicle 

"Fascinating." —The Wall Street Journal

"Absolutely on Music is an unprecedented treasure. . . . Talking about music is like dancing about architecture, it's often said, but what joy to watch these two friends dance." —The Guardian (UK)

"The book shines as a deep exploration into how a conductor does his job and how performer personalities, logistical factors and mundane bureaucracies can change an orchestra's sound. . . . The book also dishes insider gossip on the greats: Leonard Bernstein is a anti-hierarchical mensch, while Glenn Gould is a fascinating 'eccentric.'" —New Republic

"Fascinating. . . . Enthralling. . . . What comes through in these conversations is the devotion both men feel for music; the degree to which every detail of a work matters to them; and the strength of their yearning to connect to great symphonies and concertos (and the composers who penned them)." —The Seattle Times

"A work that general readers will enjoy and the musical cognoscenti will devour." —Kirkus Reviews

"Intriguing insights about the nature of music. . . . Deliberate and contemplative. In some ways, these conversations are High Fidelity for classical music fans." —Publishers Weekly

"[Absolutely on Music] shows Murakami's gift for writing about a subject unpretentiously, but in detail, betraying its enthusiasm only through the act of writing. . . . [It] makes for a useful guide to the nitty-gritty of concert music for the uninitiated." —The A.V. Club 

"Refreshingly honest and enthusiastic, a mental sampler from both the writer and the musician. . . . The subject matter veers and twirls, from the philosophy of education to the phrasing of a specific passage, to the bringing out of an inner voice. And perhaps therein lies the charm of this book" —The Buffalo News

"Irresistibly seductive." —Evening Standard (UK)

"Transcribed from conversations between the phenomenal Japanese author Murakami (who ran a jazz club in his youth) and magician-with-a-baton Seiji Ozawa, whom I remember fondly as conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in my student days long, long ago? I cannot resist. For all your smart readers." —Library Journal

"A strange and delightful book. Murakami and Ozawa sit sipping hot hojicha tea, snacking on persimmons and discussing in riveting detail works by Mahler, Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms and many other central figures in the history of Western music. . . . While he defers to Ozawa on technical matters, [Murakami] describes music with rich and suggestive metaphors and images that capture something essential about the spirit of the music." The Christian Science Monitor

Praise for Haruki Murakami:

 • "Hardly a soul writes of the listening and playing of music with such insight and tenderness." --Patti Smith, The New York Times Book Review
 • "Murakami is Japan's greatest living writer." --The Washington Post
 • "It's hard to think of another writer who is as popular, as strange, and as lionized as Haruki Murakami is." --Meg Wolitzer, NPR
 • "Murakami is a genius." --Chicago Tribune