08 November, 2018

Book Review: Absolutely on Music, Conversations with Seiji Ozawa

Book Review: Absolutely on Music, Conversations with Seiji Ozawa

Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Knopf

I am a great fan of Murakami, and have read most of his novels. A deep music lover (though not versed in theory nor practice), Murakami has always had references to music, be it jazz or classical, in his works. His taste is quite orthodox and hence all his quotations have never come as a surprise.

In this book, he discusses music with his friend Ozawa. The interesting thing is, basically Murakami sets the framework, often by playing records he knows well, to which Ozawa responds. Ozawa is obviously not that much of a talker and his responses are often quite to the point and literal, not to mention polite. This means insight (whether musical or flight of fancy) is not quite in abundance. As compensation, we get anecdotes on Bernstein, Ozawa's mentor, and many others.

Lovers of classical music, however, will enjoy this book, as I did.

The Guardian


  1. Hello, I too love Murakami including all the references to music. Bought Lazar Berman's Liszt after reading "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" and one day I hope to get it autographed by Murakami himself.

    Dear Doctorjohn, here is something that may make you feel better about your record collection:


    Mrs. Murakami deserves an award too!


  2. Thank u Vivek for an interesting link!

    I believe the Vintage publication of Murakami's Dance Dance Dance contains an error in translation.

    In this article a passage from Dance Dance Dance was quoted:

    "...An abstract painting hung on the blue-gray walls, and Jacques Rouchet's Play Bach lilted soft and mellow from hidden speakers. This was not like any barbershop I'd been to — you could hardly call it a barbershop. The next thing you know, they'll be playing Gregorian chants in bathhouses, Ryuichi Sakamoto in tax office waiting rooms..."

    Jacques Rouchet was in the music circle but did not make a record. Rather, it was the more contemporary jazz musicain, similar sounding Jacques LOUSSIER who make several famous jazz records of PLAY BACH.

    I wrote to NPR and Knopf.