The Cavern of Stars

sop, mez, picc, cl, sax, tpt, pf, vc, db, gtr

Performed by Nebula Ensemble

The text and music of The Cavern of Stars attempt to tell the story of a strange and beautiful dream I had. In my dream I arrived battered and soaking wet at the foot of a huge mountain. I went inside it, but instead of a ceiling of rock over my head, I looked up to see a starry sky. My eye was particularly drawn to a cluster of stars positioned over two sand dunes or hills, and I realized these lights were people whose individual personalities I could somehow sense. An indescribable feeling came over me at that moment, and I suddenly understood why some people are willing to put aside their own desires and accept even the most profound pain with utter joy. I also realized that this magnificent cavern was not the end of my journey, but merely a glimpse of the good that lay ahead. Yet in spite of my eagerness to press on (or perhaps because of it) I was forced to remain there. In a certain sense, I have never left this cavern. I’m still looking for the door that leads out of it, and that’s why I wrote this piece; I hope that when composer, audience, and performers come together in the creative act of listening, we may all be a little closer to finding the door at last…

I dreamt “there was noise and tumult,
Thunder and earthquake,
Confusion upon the earth.” (Esther prologue verse 4).

Flood and wind and fire swept me
To a door leading into a mountain.
I went deep inside
Where all was dark and silent,
But deep inside the mountain
Was a sky filled with stars.

I know you are the light
That hollowed out the cavern of the universe.
I know yours are the eyes that hold the stars
And count the grains of sand beneath my feet.
My God, You have pierced my heart with your splendor.

“Call to me, and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

My God, You have pierced my heart with your splendor:
I will give up anything you ask of me.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
Some to everlasting life,
Others to reproach and everlasting disgrace.
But those with insight shall shine brightly
Like the splendor of the firmament,
And those who lead the many to justice
Shall be like the stars forever.” (Daniel 12:2-3)

(supplemental text by Sarah Perske)