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Eli Eli lama azabthani

Three concerts by the Hollands Vocaal Ensemble and Prisma Trio + friends, dir. Fokko Oldenhuis
April 21, 2016, 20:15, Alphen aan de Rijn, Oudhoornsekerk
April 23, 2016, 20:15, Amsterdam, Amstelkerk
April 24, 2016, 15:00, Utrecht, Nicolaikerk

Eli Eli lama azabthani was composed for the Hollands Vocaal Ensemble.

About this composition

You can easily find lots of ugliness and misery of all kinds in the media nowadays. Terrorism, hatred and war can be seen on television and the internet almost on a daily basis. But in this music I did not want to emphasize on all the horror and cynism just by adding more of the same. I wanted to set something against it.

Then by chance I encountered the text of Psalm 22, read in its original hebrew form to images of the holocaust. I knew this was what I had been looking for. The text radiates loneliness, grief, fear and sadness, but also beauty, love and trust and I knew I could write music to these words.

Because to me the sadness and grief about all this horror, at the same time shows the beauty opposite it.


Eli Eli Lama azathaniMy God, my God, why have You forsaken me
rahok mi'shu'ati dibreh sha'agatiWhy are You so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
tola'at ve'lo ish herpat adam u'bzui amBut a worm am I, and not a man; scorn of man and despised by the people
Sebabuni kelabim adat mere'im hikifuni ka'ari yadai ve'raglaiDogs have surrounded me, a company of evil doers has enclosed me; as a lion at my hand and feet
Hasila me'hereb nafshi mi'yad keleb yehidatiRescue my soul form the sword, from the grip of the dog, my very soul
Elohai ekra yomam ve'lo ta'ane ve'laila ve'lo dumiya liMy God, I call out by day but You do not answer; and at night there is no relief for me
Hoshi'eni mi'pi aryeh u'mi'karneh remim anitaniDeliver me from the lions' mouth; from the horn of the unicorn. You have answered me
Ve'Ata kadosh yosheb tehilot YisraelYou, Holy One, are enthroned upon the praises of Israel