And How My Brother Is Cain is part of Judith Shatin’s 1998 cantata, Songs of War and Peace, which she wrote for a symposium on “Violence, Poetry, and Survival” at the University of Virginia. She selected four Israeli poems in English translation from the anthology After the First Rain—of which this is one. The setting mirrors the somber image in the poem of people walking “over despair and over silence.” The faster middle section represents optimism that this condition might be overcome in the future.
Text by Azriel Kaufman
Sung in English
Those who walked to weep, those who walked to write.
And I walked, and under my feet words hummed,
and I walked over the dark, over despair, and over silence,
and a demon walked through my heart, and the gun, there was a shot,
and years collapse, and how my brother with blood on his hands,
and how my brother is Cain, and I walked, and there came a fire
consuming the silence. Those who walked to weep,
who walked to weep.
Performers: Michael Brewer, Conductor; Laudibus, Choir
Translation: Barbara Goldberg
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