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About the book
  • Published: 27 November 2017
  • ISBN: 9781784700140
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $30.00

Absolutely on Music

Conversations with Seiji Ozawa




An intimate conversation about music and creativity, between the internationally bestselling writer Haruki Murakami and world-class conductor, Seiji Ozawa.

An unprecedented glimpse into the minds of two maestros.

Haruki Murakami's passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and 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 about their shared interest.

They discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more.

  • Pub date: 27 November 2017
  • ISBN: 9781784700140
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $30.00

About the Authors

Haruki Murakami

In 1978, Haruki Murakami was 29 and running a jazz bar in downtown Tokyo. One April day, the impulse to write a novel came to him suddenly while watching a baseball game. That first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won a new writers’ award and was published the following year. More followed, including A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, but it was Norwegian Wood, published in 1987, which turned Murakami from a writer into a phenomenon. His books became bestsellers, were translated into many languages, including English, and the door was thrown wide open to Murakami’s unique and addictive fictional universe.

Murakami writes with admirable discipline, producing ten pages a day, after which he runs ten kilometres (he began long-distance running in 1982 and has participated in numerous marathons and races), works on translations, and then reads, listens to records and cooks. His passions colour his non-fiction output, from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running to Absolutely On Music, and they also seep into his novels and short stories, providing quotidian moments in his otherwise freewheeling flights of imaginative inquiry. In works such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84 and Men Without Women, his distinctive blend of the mysterious and the everyday, of melancholy and humour, continues to enchant readers, ensuring Murakami’s place as one of the world’s most acclaimed and well-loved writers.

Seiji Ozawa

Seiji Ozawa served as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for twenty-nine years, and was music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Ravinia Festival, and Wiener Staatsoper. With Kazuyoshi Akiyama, he formed the Saito Kinen Orchestra and is the director of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival. Ozawa has been deeply involved in musical education through his work with Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy Okushiga, Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland and as founder of the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Opera Project, organizations which provide opportunities to outstanding students in Asia and Europe. Among his many honours, Ozawa has been awarded the Officier de la Légion d’Honneur in France, the Japanese Order of Culture, the Kennedy Center Honors, and a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.


Praise for Absolutely on Music

“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.”

Guardian

“Hardly a soul writes of the listening and playing of music with such insight and tenderness”

Patti Smith, New York Times Book Review

“Their words tessellate perfectly, forcing the neurons in your brain into a brave new quest for artistic divinity… A book for people transfixed by the minutia of creativity.”

Shortlist

“High Fidelity for classical music fans.”

Publishers Weekly

“These dialogues...add up to a sprawling feast of Mahler-style “polytonality” - or, alternatively, the sort of protean jam-session that Monk and Parker relished.”

Boyd Tonkin, Arts Desk

“Murakami is Japan's greatest living writer”

Washington Post

“Its cool, conversational style is one of the trademarks of Murakami’s writing – his novels all have the easy calm of a bar room dialogue – and Absolutely On Music has the particular feel of sitting at a table with two friends while they bat around their ideas.”

Ross McIndoe, Skinny

“It’s a conversation that is well worth hearing.”

Richard Osborne, Gramophone

“A lively rumination on classical music.”

Keeley Bolger, Belfast Telegraph Morning

“Absolutely on Music is an intimate and fascinating conversation between two maestros… [A] compelling, moving novel.”

Scottish Women

“Murakami’s grasp of music is frequently both astonishing and inspiring. He has incredible ears and is able to distinguish and annunciate the smallest differences in interpretations… When Murakami writes in prose, he does so with the quick charm and alluring detail that fans of his novels will relish.”

Andrew Mellor, Rhinegold


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