Text in Hebrew by Elazar Ben Judah, Worms, Germany, written in 1197 (publisher: IMC 2002)
The work was conceived during the composer’s first visit in Mainz in 2001, when her work Schwarze Gesaenge for voice and piano was performed as part of the Woche der Juedischen Musik. Matthew Peaceman, the director of the festival, asked her to write a work for oboe, and she decided to create a piece of contemporary music for Baroque instruments.
After returning home, Rachel Galinne added a tenor part. She also chose a text from the Middle Ages, by Elieser bar Jehuda, of Mainz/Magenza. The Hebrew text is a lamentation for the author's two daughters, Bellet and Hannah who were killed together with their mother by two "wicked men" in 1197. During this period many Jews were killed by Crusaders on their way to Palestine.
Galinne chose to tell this dramatic story with very small means – silently, calmly, almost at a whisper, thus creating a contrast between the violent drama and the modest artistic methods used to describe it. With a text from the middle ages, Baroque instruments, and a 21st Century composer, the piece is a mixture of styles – something that is common in postmodern music. The beginning of the work is reminiscent of German medieval Minnesaenger. It then continues the Baroque style, describing the virtues of the 13 year old Bellet. Later on, when the text is describing the actual murder, a more modern, expressionistic style is used. There are also elements of Jewish religious chants in this piece, meant to evoke the story of a Jew from Mainz/Magenza during the Middle Ages – a story that has tragic connotations for the modern world.
The piece premiered in Mainz in 2003.
The work is included in the CD "Prisms