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Esther for Orchestra

Instrumentation: 3(picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 2 - 4 3 3(B. Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
Duration: 26 minutes
Commissionby Dr. Akbari Trust and the Binghamton Philharmonic
Premiere: April 18, 2015. Binghamton Philharmonic, José-Luis Novo, conductor;
Binghamton, NY
Score and Parts: Presser Rentals and Purchase
Score online: Preview Score

Movements:   I.   The Seven Trumpets of the Gates of Susa
                      II.  The Enchanting Garden of Susa
                      III. The Morning Star

 Audio Sample:

I. The Seven Trumpets of the Gates of Susa
II. The Enchanting Garden of Susa

III. The Morning Star


About Esther for Orchestra:

Esther is a three-movement orchestral work inspired by the biblical Book of Esther.

According to the Bible, Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. She is known for saving the Jewish people from a genocidal plot concocted by Haman, a high court official. Her successful appeal to King Ahasuerus stopped the impending massacre and resulted in punishment for the conspirators. Esther's heroism during this event became the basis for the Feast of Purim, a Jewish tradition which continues to be observed in the present day.

Much of the story of Esther takes place in Susa, the ancient capital of Persia famed for its magnificent buildings and beautiful gardens. My music doesn’t follow the Biblical narrative scene by scene; rather it is a reflection on Susa, Esther's character, the Feast of Purim and the story's themes of bravery, tolerance, conspiracy and compassion.

The first movement, “The Seven Trumpets of the Gates of Susa” refers to the splendid city of Susa mentioned in the Bible and many historical sources. Seven is a mythological number, for example: the seven seas, skies, and the days of the week. This symbolic number plays an important role in the organization of the musical materials, rhythm, and the structure of the piece. New sections often begin with a simultaneous stroke of Tam-tam and bells, each time a step higher. The movement culminates with a brass fanfare again emphasizing the number seven.

The second movement, “The Enchanting Gardens of Susa”, is mostly nocturnal in character with a seven-note motif heard at the beginning. Some of the movement's highlights are the improvisational characteristics exhibited in the extended solo passages played by the English horn, trumpet, and the harp.

The third movement, “The Morning Star”, begins with the brass fanfare from the end of the first movement. Some sources indicate that Esther was considered to be a derivative of Ishtar, an ancient Mesopotamian goddess and the morning star. The sound of Shofar (Ram’s horn) played by the horns and the joyous character of the Purim celebration permeate throughout the movement.

- Behzad Ranjbaran






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