De Profundis (from Beyond The Notes)
Jon Lord’s programme note:
Leaving Deep Purple was just as traumatic as I’d always suspected it would be. And more so – if you see what I mean. This music is, in a way, the story of that departure. The joy of finding the freedom to fly alone but the sadness of parting from something so warm and supportive. Exulting in a new dawn while still missing last night’s beautiful sunset.
Friends of such longstanding (and occasional falling down) no longer there nearly every day to joke with, argue with, to smile with and at, and, some days, missing the pure happiness and pride in being part of making music with… well, terrific chaps really. Sometimes those middle-of-the-night moments, waking suddenly to hear the echo of my voice asking questions in the dark. So what was I asking? Probably just: “are they keeping my seat on the bus warm?”
Well anyway, chums, now there is clarity and sparkle coupled delightfully with a sharp-end, buck-stops-here tingle. So then. Here we are. Adventure. New friends. New music to be made. Onwards and upwards. Out of the deep and back to the future. Funny old life, isn’t it?
A note by Paul Mann:
Re-reading this programme note I am once again struck by that essential Lord characteristic: a lightness of touch disguising an ocean of feeling. The typically punningly titled “De Profundis” encapsulates nothing less than the most cataclysmic event of Jon’s professional life. I remember the day he called to tell me he’d finally made the decision. It was given almost as a parenthesis: “…..so I’ve decided to leave…” But the decision tortured him, both before and long after he had made it.
On that hugely emotional night in Ipswich, England, where Jon made his last appearance with the band, we went back to the hotel together and stayed up all night talking (and drinking) and talking some more. The elation, the doubts, the positivity, the fears… “Onwards and upwards” he says in his note, and he said it that night too. His immense act of courage in leaving behind total security and guaranteed celebrity to pursue that burning need within him to work as a composer is something for which I can only hope posterity will give him his due.
Hearing the opening and closing moments of “De Profundis”, I don’t know whether to marvel at his ingenious collage of quotations, or to shed a tear at the meaning behind them. (“If you’re leaving, close the door….”) My favourite moment is in the eleventh bar – (see the scanned page). While the solo oboe is distracting our attention with the opening melody of the “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”, the cellos are playing, pianissimo and tremolando, in profound slow motion, his solo from “Highway Star”. Here, encapsulated in a few bars, is the duality of Jon: the reason he created one of the world’s great rock bands, and the reason he also had to leave it. Those searching for something of the essence of Jon Lord, might just find it in this little piece.