The melody for Hatikvah derives from La Mantovana, a 16th-century Italian song, composed by Giuseppe Cenci (Guiseppino del Biado) ca. 1600 with the text "Fuggi, fuggi, fuggi da questo cielo". Its earliest known appearance in print was in the del Biado's collection of madrigals. It was later known in early 17th-century Italy as Ballo di Mantova. This melody gained wide currency in Renaissance Europe, under various titles, such as the Pod Krakowem (folk song) (in Polish), Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus [Maize with up-standing leaves] (in Romanian) and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian). This melody was also famously used by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana in his symphonic poem celebrating Bohemia, Má vlast, as Vltava (Die Moldau). The adaptation of the music for Hatikvah was done by Samuel Cohen in 1888. Cohen himself recalled many years later that he had hummed Hatikvah based on the melody from the song he had heard in Romania, Carul cu boi [The Ox Driven Cart].
Paintings by Marc Shagall
Soundtrack performed by SHIRIN