"Songs of the Ten Plagues" were written and published during WWII (1944). It is impossible not to hear an echo of that war in between the lines of the songs. Even so, these are not songs about the Second World War or about the destruction of European Jewry. Alterman turned the Biblical story of the Ten Plagues into a parable about the destruction that descends upon communities and kingdoms who ever and wherever they are. In the poem the Egyptian city Thebes, personifies a universal principle that returns and is realized again and again during the course of history: the principle that sin is followed by recompense and punishment.
Andre Hajdu composed this work in 1982 as "radiophonic music"- meaning, music to be performed on the spot, without notes. The work was played as an improvisation on the great pipe organ in the hall of the Y.M.C.A in Jerusalem. Andre Hadju played the organ and three other musicians accompanied him: Peter Kessler (flute), Stephen Hornstein (alto flute) and Tanya Suskind (violin).
The National Library owns the manuscript of Hajdu's comments on the composition.