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Classical Californians: Reena Esmail

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Reena Esmail

This week’s Classical Californian is LA-based compser Reena Esmail, who is composer-in-residence with Los Angeles Master Chorale, and whose works often bring together the Western Classical and Hindustani Classical traditions. She’s got a lineup of works by composers including Robert Schumann, Thomas Ades, Bela Bartok, Mojgan Misaghi, and Christopher Theofanidis… plus an unexpected look at the themes for three of her favorite TV shows about politics.

She starts with three movements from Inferno by composer Thomas Adès, played by the LA Phil.

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Thomas Adès: Inferno - i

Thomas Adès: Inferno - ii

Thomas Adès: Inferno - iii

Then she chose two very different takes on the same piece: Robert Schumann's song "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai", sung by Dietrich Fischer Dieskau in a well-known recording, and then by Hindustani singer Saili Oak (accompanied by Reena Esmail).

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Schumann: "Im wundershönen Monat Mai" (Fischer-Dieskau)

Schumann: "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai" (Saili Oak)

The next work is by composer Mojgan Misaghi, a set of miniatures for "bowless violin."

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Mojgan Misaghi: Three Miniatures for Bowless Violin

A work that was very important to Esmail as a young composer was the Concerto for Orchestra by Bela Bartok.

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Bela Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra (mvt. 2)

Then, a look at a trio of television themes that have a common subject: politics. Each mirrors the tone of the show that it underscores.

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W.G. "Snuffy" Walden: The West Wing

Jeff Beal: House of Cards

Christopher Willis: Veep

And finally, the piece Rainbow Body, by Christopher Theofanidis...

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Christopher Theofanidis: Rainbow Body

Published on 05.29.2024