• Sally Beamish
  • Showings (2005)
    (Original Version)

  • Peters Edition Limited (World)

Commissioned and first performed by the Strathendrick Singers conducted by Rosalind MacGowan, Killearn Kirk, Scotland 2005.

  • SATB; tubular bell in C (optional), strings
  • SATB
  • 10 min
  • Julian of Norwich
  • English

Programme Note

Showings uses texts by the 14th Century anchoress Julian of Norwich, who received a series of visions during a severe illness. These were the Revelations of Divine Love, or ‘Showings’. In her teaching Julian asserts that we should see God primarily as all loving, and presents an extraordinary optimism and peacefulness in the face of the considerable suffering of her time.

The piece has three movements. The first (Enfolded) uses a very short, encircling fragment – a falling semitone rising to a third and then returning.

The second movement (The Still Point) starts very softly with a continuous middle C, contrasted with whispering in the choir and fast, rustling string passages. Gradually these unsettled elements are drawn into the central note, and the movement is resolved, with bells, on C.

For Love sets the question and answer structure of the text with simple phrases and choral refrains. The texture is harmonic, with the strings colouring the vocal lines.

The work lasts about 10 minutes, and was commissioned by the Strathendrick Singers with funding from the Scottish Arts Council. It was first performed by the Strathendrick Singers in 2005 at Killearn Kirk, Stirlingshire, conducted by their director, Rosalind MacGowan.