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Dov Seltzer

Lament for Yitzhak


Editor of Texts: Dr. Shalom Ratzabi
The work is written for symphony orchestra, mixed choir, children's choir, 4 soloists (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and folk singer) and the recorded voice of Yitzhak Rabin, with selections from three of his major speeches (two in Hebrew and one in English).

The "Lament" is not a "Yizkor" (In memoriam) prayer or a sacred work, but, rather, a secular work, even though some of the texts are derived from Jewish prayer. Other textual sources include the Bible, poetry from the literature of medieval Spanish Jewry and texts of contemporary Israeli poets, including a poem dedicated to peace written by a 12-year-old. All the texts are sung in Hebrew.
Since the Jewish tradition does not have a burial prayer equivalent to the requiem, the work's five movements are adapted to the musical and programmatic format of the Christian requiem, without identifying with the Christian conceptual content. The Jewish prayers included in the work are parallel to movements of the requiem mass (and, consequently, one can see to what extent the Christian prayers were inspired by the Jewish prayers).

The five movements are:
1. El Maleh Rachamim (God of Mercy) – Parallel to Kyrie Eleison
2. Yom Hadin (Day of Judgment) – Parallel to Dies irae
3. Halel (Praise) – Parallel to Gloria
4. Kina (Lament) - Parallel to Lacrimosa
5. Ya'ase Shalom (He will bring piece) – Parallel to Dona Nobis Pacem

The text and music of "Lament for Yitzhak" describe Yitzhak Rabin's life achievements and accomplishments as well as his tragic death, and they become a hymn to peace, love and understanding between nations: a frank declaration against violence and war.
The work was premiered on 27 April 1998 at the Mann Auditorium, Tel-Aviv, as the opening concert of Israel's 50th anniversary celebrations. It was performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Israeli Opera Choir, the Ankor Children's Choir and four soloists, conducted by Zubin Mehta. In July 1999 the work was performed at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York by the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Chorale Choir and the Harlem Boys' Choir, conducted by Kurt Masur.
An additional performance of the work was in November 2009 at the Santa Cecilia Auditorium in Rome with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Choir and Children's Choir, under the baton of Lorin Maazel.
A recording of the work's premiere was released on CD and DVD by Helicon.

Publisher: IMI – Israeli Music Institute


Lament for Yitzhak
A Requiem to a Man of Peace
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Zubin Mehta, conductor
Sharon Rostorf, soprano
Hadar Halevi, mezzo-soprano
Vincenzo La Scola, tenor
Haya Samir, folk singer
The New Israeli Opera Choir
The Ankor Children's Choir
Live recording: 27.4.1998
The F. Mann Auditorium, Tel-Aviv