Symphonic Poem in Five
Movements for Grand Orchestra
The composition is not descriptive, however the general
"tone" of the poems which constitute "Eikhah" reflect on every movement.
It is not a Symphony in the traditional meaning because it does not fit
in the sonata form: two opposing and complementary themes or ideas.
Rather it is a Symphonic Poem without "programme", where each movement
is inspired from the poems of the book "Lamentations" (Eikhah).
The composition employs a large orchestra, with a full set of
One main tone-series is used as a "leitmotiv", this series is used as
is in the first and last movements and its variations are employed in
The pitch material on which all movements are based is in the form of
one main and some derivative tone-rows which emphasize the intervals of
minor and major thirds.
The result of this selection of pitches creates an overall sound-color
which stands apart from the usual distinction of consonant versus
dissonant. The music can be at times almost "post-Romantic", i.e.
Bruckner-like, but also "pointillistic" at others.
I. How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! - Andante
אֵיכָה יָשְׁבָה בָדָד, הָעִיר רַבָּתִי עָם--הָיְתָה
A plaintive "call" from the Oboe starts the first movement. Strings
create a complex polyphony as a kind of "magma" expanding from the Oboe
The main tone row, used here as a theme or "leitmotiv", emerges
Few bright sections as "light rays" occur with staccato octaves on
Flutes, Celesta and Harp.
A powerful crescendo of the brass section unveils the view of
devastated Jerusalem, which emerges as a nightmare like vision.
The English Horn solo over ostinato chords on the Violas and Cellos,
punctuated with Double bass pizzicatos is the inner talking of the
In sheer horror, the reality surpasses even what can be witnessed or
imagined by the Prophet.
The big crescendo leading to the last section brings out two
simultaneous solos on Violin and Violoncello. The Violin solo is
desperately climbing to extreme high ranges it is mercilessly
punctuated with tutti Cello short and strong chords.
The movement ends as it started with plaintive held notes at the
II. How hath the Lord covered with a cloud the daughter of Zion in His
ֵאֵיכָה יָעִיב בְּאַפּוֹ אֲדֹנָי, אֶת-בַּת-צִיּוֹן--הִשְׁלִיךְ
A "quasi chromatic" run at the fastest possible tempo on the
double-basses is punctuated with down-bow violoncello attacks. This
sets the landscape for this bloodcurdling movement.
Held chords at bassoons and violins, mostly made of minor second
intervals complete the background.
After that tumultuous start, derivatives of the double-bass running
figures are also used, mostly at the first Clarinet part, to create
some melody-like figures over a background on harps, Celesta, mallets,
this time "piano" and in the high ranges.
Even though the time signature and tempo changes frequently, the
perceived ebullience remains constant even at light dynamics.
The runs seen at the beginning start again at the end of the movement,
but this time they are cut into short sections and distributed among
The movement ends without a clearly perceptible "Coda", as if it is
still going on even after the end.
III. I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
Non troppo lento
אֲנִי הַגֶּבֶר רָאָה עֳנִי, בְּשֵׁבֶט עֶבְרָתוֹ.
This movement is an introspection.
It starts with a relatively consonant polyphony which turns either to
blasting brass instrument chords projecting the horror which surrounds
the Prophet in the real world, or into a chromatic step "leitmotiv"
which symbolizes the inner and personal feelings of the witness of the
A developing oboe melody on a soft strings background may remind a
similar passage of the first movement. But this time the melody has no
possibility to expand, it is being interrupted by bursts of tutti
IV. How is the gold become dim! Molto lento
אֵיכָה יוּעַם זָהָב
The movement is based on the contrast between gold, shine, radiance
which are symbolically related with Jerusalem and darkness, obscurity
referring to the invaders and the ruination of the city.
Bright scenes, orchestrated with the use of Celesta, Glockenspiel,
harps and high woodwinds are interwoven with the dark reality on low
brass and low strings.
The unveiling of those various contrasting scenes can be either subtle
or sudden, the "past" glory of Jerusalem symbolized as "gold" by the
author-prophet may even be superposed over the dark and terrifying
V. Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us. Moderato
זְכֹר יְהוָה מֶה-הָיָה לָנוּ
This is again a prayer, but not a peaceful and serene one as the events
witnessed are so overwhelming.
The music reflects various remembrances from the preceding movements.
Several discontinued melodic or rhythmic elements intervene to
de-stabilize whenever the music tries to get into a calm and straight