Composer Reena Esmail and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Photo by Jamie Pham.

“Reena Esmail acknowledged the irony that we were talking about her new choral work—’A Requiem for Water,’ inspired by California’s water crisis—in the midst of a deluge,” writes Tim Greiving in Saturday’s (3/25) Los Angeles Times. “But, she pointed out with a laugh, the official title of her piece is ‘Malhaar,’ which is the name for a subset of ragas—a form of Indian classical music—‘that are supposed to beckon rain. So in the Hindu tradition,’ Esmail said, ‘the lore goes that when you sing malhaar, rain comes.’ The Los Angeles Master Chorale commissioned Malhaar: A Requiem for Water, for chorus, solo vocalists, percussion, tabla, and chamber orchestra, and gave the world premiere on March 26 at Walt Disney Concert Hall. “An Angeleno who studied Western classical music at both Juilliard and Yale, the composer is also the daughter of Indian immigrants, and for the last decade, she has been conjuring a musical river that draws from two disparate cultures. Her work is a duet between traditions, where classically notated orchestral and chamber ensembles dance with improvised, microtonal Hindustani vocals, sitars and violins…. The piece culminates … with all of these seemingly disparate influences cascading into hope-filled unity.”