Composer is celebrated at 99

Composer is celebrated at 99


norman lebrecht

January 12, 2021

The excellent Estonian symphonist Ester Mägi is being feted this week by the national symphony orchestra for her 99th birthday.

Moscow trained in the early 1950s, she fused Shostakovich-style rage with Estonian sonorities.

photo: Rene Jakobson



  • JussiB says:

    What compositions of hers have entered the mainstream repertoire in the past 70 years or will be in the next 70 years? That’s how I judge a composer’s greatness.

    • John Borstlap says:

      A comment ignoring everything that happened in the world, and especially in Europe, in the last 70 years.

      Never, since the development of public concert life from the late 18C onwards, has there been a ‘museum culture’ as exists today. This means that entering mainstream repertoire is no longer possible and that the mainstream repertoire is no longer a measurement of composers’ greatness. Which means that it is left to our own ears to decide about ‘greatness’, instead of thinking what group think thinks.

  • John Borstlap says:

    This is a really good piece….. one hears Shos’ influence but it definitely has a personal touch.

    ‘Moscow trained’. What an irony. While in Russia serious music was put under the glass bell of state control, the tonal tradition was preserved in a cage, while in the West the infection of modernism was celebrated as an expression of freedom, condemning any composer who did not followed the party line – which was not laid-down by any government.