Concert Notes

Lera Auerbach’s De Profundis (Violin Concerto No. 3)

In lieu of concert notes, Ms. Auerbach has requested that the following poem accompany her music.

It is always there, waiting, waiting.
As I wake, as I walk my dog in the morning
or re-read my favorite poem
(the one which struck me as true in adolescence)
the Abyss is always just a step away.

If you stare at anything with burning intensity –
you can see the edge of its bottomless mouth.
Keep on looking through your tears and sweat,
without turning your gaze even once –
soon you will notice nothing else.

The Abyss tempts you to lean even closer.
Others may think you must have gone blind,
but you start distinguishing black on black,
you start seeing the distant valleys.

Once you’ve managed to really focus,
so much that the noisy light can’t disturb
your full concentration – at last – you see
deep within the Abyss – the Sun,
and stars of another great Universe,
calling to you with their flickering dance.

Now you may take this final step,
one step that still keeps you away.
As you stand on the edge, leaning ever closer
to the great expanse – the empty wow of nothing-ness –

you see how the Abyss, with its wrinkled topography
of a world alien to comprehension,
rearranges its valleys and mountains –
to form your own face.