The jury selected the piece, saying: "The work is scored for string soloist and string orchestra. It is conceived on a broad scale. It is visionary, deeply felt, contemplative and singularly personal in nature." The piece is inspired by John Ashbery's extended poem, "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror". itself named for the painting of the same name. Each movement is named with a line from the poem, and the title is the final line. Violin, viola, cello, and bass soloists are featured in front of the orchestra and quotations are used from Beethoven's Piano Sonata, Opus 81a (Les Adieux) in the first movement and from Mahler's 9th Symphony in the fourth movement.