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Kent Nagano with Inge Kloepfer: Classical Music. Expect the Unexpected. Translated from German by Hans-Christian Oeser. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.

The translation by Hans-Christian Oeser is idiomatic. The few editing slips (Bruckner’s so-called Symphony No. 0 is said to be in B Major rather than D Minor) are not game-changers, although one might expect Nagano himself to have caught the misrepresentation of his OSM title (music director, not chief conductor). Inge Kloepfer, a journalist working in Berlin, co-authored the original text, which has clearly been modified to make room for references to a certain American president who could hardly be absent from a jeremiad on the dilemma that the United States finds itself in. Nevertheless, Nagano’s final words are hopeful. After all, he loves music.

(Arthur Kaptainis, The Montreal Gazette, 1. März 2019)

There are so many beautifully crafted portions throughout this book that one is often tempted to pause, reflect, and then reread. (...) in part a work of advocacy for classical music, in part philosophy for a society in transition, and in part wisdom from a sensitive, caring, and intelligent artist, Classical Music: Expect the Unexpected is a volume filled with love and depth. The book is a lament, a ballad, a tone poem, a symphony as to the power of classical music. And, as so beautifully stated by the author, this power can and should have an important place in our lives, especially in these times of societal turmoil and upheaval.

(Lisa Lorenzino, New York Journal of Books, 27. März 2019)

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