As an exergue to the score, the composer placed the text of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, which introduces the very short preface of her collection Requiem (Éditions de minuit), a series of poems describing the sufferings and humiliations of the great Stalinist purge.
No, it is not under a foreign sky,
sheltered by foreign wings that I was,
But in the midst of my people,
Where, for his misfortune, my people were