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Mägi, Ester

(*1922)

Ester Mägi was born January 10, 1922 in Tallinn in the family of a craftsman. Studied at Tallinn School of Commerce. Started independent piano studies at home, in 1938 she proceeded at Tallinn Conservatory studying there until 1946. Problems with her hand made her change the speciality. In 1946-1951 she studied composition in professor. Mart Saar’s class. In 1951-54 she took postgraduate studies with professor Vissarion Shebalin at Moscow Conservatory.

Choir music a cappella takes a big part in Ester Mägi’s work. She is one of the most outstanding authors of her generation in this genre of Estonian music, next to Veljo Tormis. The work of Ester Mägi is national in essence, which can be characterised by general chamber-music style, it is balanced and delicate at the same time. Her works are cohesive in intonation of sound material , we can observe strong logic of form; laconic approach and careful elaboration of facture. Although her works are thematically often based on folk songs, the author never uses the whole piece; she either prefers to develop the original folk motive herself or to unite motives from different folk tunes.

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