This is a deeply felt concerted work for cello and orchestra. It is in a moderate twentieth century style, modal rather than chromatic, a tonal work with a mood that is elegiac and dramatic.
The Kaddish is a prayer ordinarily given during Jewish services for the dead, though it never mentions Death. There are traditional melodies and Hebrew cantillation associated with the text, but Diamond did not use any of these nor, indeed, any particular Jewish music. The themes, he says are his own concept. In describing the form and style of the music Diamond relates the Kaddish to others of his compositions that have some connection to ritual, neither theater music nor abstract music.
The music is primarily melodic. Its modal quality suggests the work's Jewish connection, but the actual mode is not specifically Jewish in sound. The work rises to a serious and affirmative climax towards its end, then subsides.