This week's free download features a selection of the classical music found in the works of Haruki Murakami (1949- ), an internationally bestselling, award-winning author from Japan. Murakami, who once ran a jazz club with his wife, infuses his works with classical, jazz and other forms of music. For Murakami, music reveals the inner workings of his characters and accompanies them on their journeys. One such example of this is how the piece "Le mal du pays" ("Homesickness") by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt
(1811-1886) plays an important motif in his novel Colorless Tsukuro Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
The piece, part of a set of three suites called Années de Pèlerinage
(Years of Pilgrimage), accompanies Tsukuro Tazaki on his own pilgrimage through life.
Another one of Murakami's works is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,
which was originally released in Japan in three parts. In this novel, the titles of all three parts refer to classical works--"The Thieving Magpie" is after Gioachino Rossini's (1792-1868) opera, "Bird as Prophet" alludes to Robert Schumann's (1810-1856) piece by that name, and the third part, "The Bird-Catcher," refers to a character in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's (1756-1791) opera, The Magic Flute.
It's not only Murakami's novels and short stories that use music to propel the story forward. One of his nonfiction works, Absolutely on Music,
contains a series of conversations about music and writing with Seiji Ozawa,
the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Our free download opens with Robert Schumann's "Träumerei" ("Dreaming"), performed by German classical pianist Florian Uhlig (1974-). The second piece, "Le mal du pays" ("Homesickness") from Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage is a debut recording by Bulgarian virtuoso Julian Gorus (1978-). Träumerei and "Le mal du pays" are both featured in Murakami's Colorless Tsukuro Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
The final two songs in the selection are the last of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas, the Piano Sonata No. 32. The work, composed in two highly contrasting movements, is performed by German classical pianist Gerhard Oppitz (1953-). Piano Sonata No. 32 is featured in Sputnik Sweetheart.
To download, click the blue links above and select the three-dot icon in the player, or right-click the blue link and select "Save link as..."
Continue scrolling to view scores of "Träumerei" and "Le mal du pays," as well as videos, including an interview with composer Max Richter
(1966-) on the author. All users have access to the videos.