Requiem The Song of the Murdered Jewish People

Subject: Music/Literature

Grade Levels: 9 through 12


Sunshine State Standards: View all Sunshine State Standards



An orchestral version of Requiem was composed after the poem by Holocaust poet Itzhak Katzenelson The Song of the Murdered Jewish People, describing the extermination of the Jewish life in Warsaw.

Zlata Razdolina is the composer, the Moravska Philharmonic Orchestra plays the piece, Victor Feldbrill is the conductor. The work which lasts nearly an hour, is comprised of scores for large orchestra, choir and soloist (cantor), and is sung with the Hebrew words of the poem written by the Holocaust poet Itzhack Katzenelson. The Song of the Murdered Jewish People was written during the poet's detention in a transportation camp, Vitel-France, before he was deported to Auschwitz. The poem was buried in Vitel's soil where it was unearthed at the end of the war and was brought to a museum on the Kibbutz "The Ghetto Fighters" which is named after him.

The poem, a story of the Warsaw Ghetto, was written originally in Yiddish and has now been translated into many languages, including English, German, Hebrew and Russian. Due to funding shortage, the CD is only the orchestral version, with vocals.

Zlata Razdolina (Rosenfeld) composer, author and performer of her own music, was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in 1959. She began her career in1978 performing her works in the artist's organization "Lenconcert" in Leningrad. She is a laureate of many national and international music competitions.

Among her awards is her laureate at the all-Russian competition dedicated to the 40th Anniversary of the Victory over Fascism (1985-Leningrad). The summit of her career in Russia included her laureate awards for her musical setting of Anna Akhmatova's poem "Requiem" in the national competitions in 1988-Moscow and 1989-Leningrad. Zlata was chosen to perform her composition "Requiem" during the Anna Akhmatova centennial in 1989 at the Kremlin, Moscow.

The "Requiem", written for symphony orchestra, choir and soloists, was later performed in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic, the USA and Israel.

Most of her repertoire, of more than six hundred romances and songs, is composed of the famous Russian classical poets, A. Akhmatova, N. Gumilyov, O. Mandelstam, M. Tsvetayeva, A. Blok, I. Severyanin, S. Yesenin and others. Based on romantic love poems, they have been set to music. This music has been successfully performed and accepted with great acclaim. In addition to performances in Russia and Israel, her music has also been performed in Finland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France and the USA.

Razdolina immigrated to Israel in 1990 at the summit of her career. In 1993, the famous Israeli singer Dudu (David) Fisher dedicated a TV program to her music. She composed the soundtrack of the Israeli TV series "Kastner's Trial" directed by Uri Barabash, which received the Israeli Oscar as the best dramatic TV series in 1994. Since then, she has composed song-cycles of the best-known Israeli poets, Rachel, Y. Wallach, N. Yehonatan, L. Goldberg and others.

She has written music for many theaters in St. Petersburg and recently to the Han Theater in Jerusalem performing "My Dear Esterline" by Shai Agnon, and in addition, music for symphony orchestras, choirs and chamber music.

The worldwide premier performance of the orchestral version of this Requiem was last year on the day of the Holocaust on Israeli cable TV and "Kol Ha'musica."

Since then, it was broadcast on more than 15 radio stations around the world including Warsaw, Berlin, Koln, France, Australia, and several stations in the US.

She is a member of the Israeli Composer Organization, the Israeli Union of Performing Artists (IUPA), an affiliate of the International Federation of Actors ( F.I.A.) and the International Alliance of Women in Music (IAWM).


The Jerusalem Post, Memorial in Music, April 22, 1998

Local composers are continually influenced and inspired by the gravest period in Jewish history and continue to write music that in one way or another is related to the Holocaust and its never-ceasing impressions on our daily reality and collective memory.

Two premieres today, each different in scope, will present two ways in which the post-Holocaust generation of composers deals with the topic. At the official memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem tonight, popular singer Meital Trabelsi will premiere a new version of the famous song "Sachki Sachki," composed for her by Oded Zehavi, one of Israel's most captivating young composers, a man who knows how to write for theater and film as much as he does for the concert stage.

The fact that a classical music composer, who has been inspired by the history of our land on the one hand and by local poetry on the other, uses a known poem and sets it to music for a singer from the popular music world, promises a most beguiling combination. The song will be performed live at Yad Vashem and broadcast on national radio and television.

Earlier today (2 p.m. on the Voice of Music), music lovers will be able to hear the premiere performance of the 55 minute requiem by young Russian-born composer Zlata Razdolina, based on The Song of the Murdered Jewish People by Itzhak Katzenelson.

The composer's most famous opus to date is her requiem based on a poem by great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, which has already been performed at the Kremlin in Moscow and later in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic, the US and Israel.

Razdolina's repertoire of over 600 songs and romances set to music , most of which she performs herself, are poems by leading Soviet poets.

Since immigrating to Israel in 1990, she composed the music for Uri Brbash's television docudrama Kastner's Trial and began composing song cycles based on the works of well-known Israeli poets.

Razdolina's music is very communicative, lyrical and dramatic, even if at times, as a recording of this new work suggests, too emotional. She writes from the heart with the overall dramatic picture in front of her. And the music, which is also folk oriented and very Jewish in its consciousness, even if it does not always sound totally original, is very effective.

It seems as if Razdolina's aim in this new opus is to raise a breathing memorial to the tradition and culture which the Nazis tried to destroy and which has emerged even through the most horrible of times. The way this young composer - who grew up in a land in which freedom was a dream and antisemitism a daily occurrence - deals with the Holocaust is intriguing.

Hopefully this work will find an orchestra willing to present it live so music lovers will be able to experience the magnitude of the composition in the concert hall and not just on the radio.


Submitted by:

Shlomo Blumberg

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 1997-2013.

Timeline People Arts Activities Resources