Haruki Murakami //
As soon as Booktunes began Murakami's long awaited new novel, 1q84, we knew we were in for a good time: the first of the three parts of his magnum opus opens with Janácecks Sinfonietta. Even better, after that the book overflows with references to pop music and jazz.
Literature and music, Booktunes' two favourite things, combine to create the complex worlds of 1984 and 1q84 and tell a typically spellbinding story that addresses the usual Murakami themes and subjects. The narrative skips between the lives of Aomame and Tengo, with the two strands alternating between chapters before resolving in a climatic finale.
Aomame sits in a taxi, listening to music on the radio. She starts to dream, and we peek into her thoughts, revealing more about herself and the music. Her reverie ends abruptly; Janáceks Sinfonietta marks the beginning of a book in which the dream world is a malevolent and powerful force that can be both inconvenient and supercede reality.
Tengo listens to the Sinfonietta as well. It takes him back to his childhood, a time that marked the emergence of his several talents. As a boy he was very musically talented, before it transpired that he preferred sport, while as a man he's a maths teacher whose heart lies in writing novels in his spare time.
Janácek originally composed his Sinfonietta for a big sporting event, but his affinity for the Czech army is never far from the surface in this piece. It may begin with a celebratory fanfare, but it's far from a light piece of music. The brass and timpani rush towards a brutal climax, mirroring the events that transpire in 1q84. The easy comparison with Tengo's free fridays, but more the earlier storm that launches Air Chrysalis and Aomame's deadly work have a similar pace.
Murakami makes it obvious that the Sinfonietta is one of the things that connects Aomame and Tengo. Tengo's dream, in which the wind blows away his score until the wondeful Fukaeri talkes hold of his hand, is not so spectacular either. But these musical interludes are always welcome in 1q84 - they inject a little light into this huge piece of work. Aomame hears 'It's only a paper moon' performed by a jazz combo, only to learn that there are two moons in the sky that evening.
It's hard for Booktunes to say more about the music in 1q84 without giving away more about the plot. All we can tell you about Fukaeri, the Old Woman and Tamaru is the music they love: Bach, Downland and progressieve rock. And we're still discover if 1q84 comes to a dramatic climax, or mirrors the opening melody of Janácek's Sinfonietta. Although the second part is now available to buy, we'll have to wait til 2011 for the concluding part of the trilogy. Until then we'll keep on listening in pleasure while devouring Murakami's beautiful words.
text by E. de Loor / translation by W. Georgi / photo by Susumu Kohda