More, My Good Old Classical Records

New Book: More, My Good Old Classical Records

December 19, 2022 By mk

On 15 December 2022, a new Murakami book, ‘More, My Good Old Classical Records’ was published in Japan. It is an essay book on his classical music record collection and a sequel to “My Good Old Classical Records,” published last year.

In the preface, Murakami wrote that this book was neither a guidebook nor an enlightening book but a personal report on the records in his collection and concise narratives with love and enthusiasm.

Reading through the notes on 104 songs (three to six records by different performers per song), I felt like I was reading a continuation of Oshima’s commentary on Schubert’s sonatas in ‘Kafka on the Shore’.

“Because playing Schubert’s piano sonatas well is one of the hardest things in the world. Especially this, the Sonata in D Major. It’s a tough piece to master. Some pianists can play one or maybe two of the movements perfectly, but if you listen to all four movements as a unified whole, no one has ever nailed it.

Kafka on the Shore, Ch.13

One of my favourite passages in the book is, for example, the following.

The French clavecin player Veyron-Lacroix is a master at playing Rameau, and he played the tunes with the ease of a man who knew his way around. I have two LPs that he played Rameau, old and new, and I prefer the older Westminster LP. It is a spirited and tender-hearted performance. Music is valued above all else. The new Erato one is a little more gallant or extroverted in his technique. Or perhaps it is because of the difference in the instruments played in the recordings. On the Erato LP, Lacroix uses a 1775 clavecin by Jean-Henri Emche. The instrument played for the Westminster LP is unknown as it is not credited, but anyway, it sounds more familiar, at least to my ears.

More, My Good Old Classical Records, P295 (unauthorized translation)

I think Robert Veyron-Lacroix (1922-1991) would be pleased* to receive such comments about his recordings in 1963 and 1970 from one of the best writers in 2022, far away in Japan.

*Excuse me if the above expression, ‘the demised person would be pleased,’ is felt unnatural or impolite for somebody. It is based on the traditional Japanese view of life and death (mainly influenced by Buddhism) that there is a sense that a dead person exists in a place connected to this world and looks at us.

“More, My Good Old Classical Records” with the caption, “There is no end to the pleasure of listening to favourite records. Here is another book ready to go”.

Murakami’s recent activities sometimes make me feel he is trying to preserve his personal memories in a form that can be shared—wishing him a long and healthy life.