Haruki Murakami About Music Book

Check out this amazing Haruki Murakami about music book in English, published way back in 2016.

This 352-page book, titled “Absolutely On Music: Conversations With Seiji Ozawa” (小澤征爾さんと、音楽について話をする) .

This free book is basically about music and writing.

Even if you are not a fan of Murakami, you should still take a peep into this book.

Haruki Murakami about music book

Haruki Murakami About Music Book

This book “Absolutely on Music Conversations With Seiji Ozawa” by Haruki Murakami is written in casual conversational styles.

The conversation or interview is between bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami and former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Seiji Ozawa, over the course of two years.

For those who do not know Seiji Ozawa, he served as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of America’s top orchestras, for nearly 30 years.

This world famous Japanese orchestra conductor regularly led the world’s two leading orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Anyway, in this book, both Murakami and Ozawa listened to music and dissected recordings of some of their favorite performances.

Murakami asked venerable music conductor Ozawa about his career conducting orchestras around the world.

The Rhythm Of Words And Music

They also discussed and explored the similarities between music and writing.

The music genre they covered in their tête-à-tête include classical, jazz, blues, and opera.

There are six sets of Conversations with four Interludes.

It started of with an Introduction title “My Afternoons with Seiji Ozawa” by Murakami.

In First Conversation, they started off talking about the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto in C minor.

Then in Interlude 1 Murakami and Ozawa share their views about collecting vinyls.

The Second Conversation focuses on Ozawa’s performance of the Brahms First Symphony at Carnegie Hall on December 15, 2010.

In the second Interlude, it is about the relationship between writing and music, where Murakami talked about how a good writer has rhythm to his words.

In Interlude four, Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa extolled the late Louis Armstrong aka Satcho.

Ozawa used the Japanese term shibumi (渋み) or effortless perfection to describe American trumpeter-vocalist Satcho.

At the end of the book, there is this Afterword by Seiji Ozawa.

He praised Murakami’s profound knowledge and deep passion for music way is beyond the bounds of sanity.

Ozawa also talks about his meet-up with Murakami to his daughter Seira, who is a close friend of Murakami’s wife, Yoko.

Absolutely On Music conversations With Seiji Ozawa Quotes

Hera are a couple of my favorite quotes taken from this book:

“The pure joy one experiences listening to “good” music transcends questions of genre.” – Haruki Murakami

(Introduction: My Afternoons with Seiji Ozawa, P. viii) source

“Creative people have to be fundamentally egoistic. This may sound pompous, but it happens to be the truth.” – Haruki Murakami

(Introduction: My Afternoons with Seiji Ozawa, P. xiii) source

“Conversely, you can’t write well if you don’t have an ear for music. The two sides complement each other: listening to music improves your style; by improving your style, you improve your ability to listen to music.” – Haruki Murakami

(Interlude 2: The Relationship of Writing to Music, P. 99) source

“No one’s going to read what you write unless it’s got rhythm. It has to have an inner rhythmic feel that propels the reader forward.” – Haruki Murakami

(Interlude 2: The Relationship of Writing to Music. P. 99) source

“When I’m writing a sentence, I automatically sound it out in my head, and a rhythm takes hold, kind of like in jazz: you ad-lib a chorus, and that leads organically to the next chorus.” – Haruki Murakami

(Interlude 2: The Relationship of Writing to Music, P. 101) source

“I always get up at four o’clock in the morning when I’m writing a novel. I prepare myself to get completely absorbed in the writing while everything is dark.” – Haruki Murakami

(Third Conversation: What Happened in the 1960s. P. 116) source

“Reckless may be the best way to go sometimes.” – Seiji Ozawa

(Third Conversation: What Happened in the 1960. P. 130) source

Well, if you are a music aficionado and a also a fan of Haruki Murakami’s literary works, then read this book.


Related: Here is a big collection of fee Haruki Murakami novels and short stories collections


I found this book “Absolutely on Music Conversations With Seiji Ozawa” by Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin available free online for some time now.

Absolutely On Music Conversations With Seiji Ozwa
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

Happy a good time reading Haruki Murakami’s book, while listening to great jazz music.


Disclaimer: I do not publish the book here. The cited links are from respective websites.