The work Ethalech Be'artsot Hachayim – I Will Walk in the Land of the Living – was dedicated to the memory of the composer's mother Zofia Gluchowicz, a Holocaust survivor. The idea of the work was conceived while Rachel Galinne delivered her funeral speech.
In that speech, Galinne talked about her mother's extraordinary will to live as a survivor of two concentration camps, Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck as well as the death march in which she took part. She was saved by a miracle and moved to Sweden as a refugee. There she began a new life and built a family and a professional career. Later on, she moved to Israel together with her family.
Galinne's mother used to say that whatever happens, you should never give up hope. Even if you cannot see any light, you should not give up but continue to hope. This was, perhaps, the secret of her ability to survive – the fact that she never gave up.
The work uses verses from Psalms to describe the suffering during the Holocaust, as well as a new hope. In the end, where the text is very happy – almost ecstatic – Galinne's music is happy and optimistic as well.
As in many of Galinne's works, the music moves between a multitude of styles from both the past and present, in order to create maximal dramatic tension and contrast. Thus, in the section which depicts the suffering of the Holocaust the style is a modern continuation of Expressionism. However, it is also strongly influenced by Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Times which was composed when Messiaen was a prisoner in a Nazi work camp and which is similar in its instrumentation to Galinne's piece. In the last section of the piece where the Psalms depict ecstatic religious belief that serves as an expression of victory over suffering, violence and death, Galinne chooses to use a faux-Baroque style, with a singer performing a coloratura part. When composing the coloratura section the composer drew her inspiration from the clarity and brilliance that characterizes the vocal works of J.S. Bach, whose music can stand as an ideal and model even in our time.
The work premiered in Jerusalem on the 5th of March, 2007 at an "Etnachta" concert that was broadcast live on Israeli radio and on the following day in Tel Aviv in a concert dedicated to works by Galinne and produced by the Musica Nova Consort.
The work is included in the CD "Ethalech Be'artsot Hachayim - I Will Walk in the Land of the Living", 2008.