New composition inspired by Julian's Revelations


Dr Susannah Self writes.......

'Julian’s experiences in Revelations of Divine Love coincided with the Black Death, indeed, she may even have had it, as a few people survived. Therefore, I feel that her experience of high fever resonates with the acute hospitalised patients in the recent pandemic. It is so inspiring that in her Revelations, Julian confronts her own mortality and that of others with great empathy. She opens her heart to spiritual transformation as a result of her near-death experience. It seems to me that her gift of personal suffering can bring us closer to an experience of divinity. Also, her observation that God is the mother of all things, and that spirit is present in every atom, helps connect us universally whatever our beliefs.  Through music, the connection between Covid patients and Julian’s high fever allows the parameters of time and linear histories to emerge. With high fever we are literally plunged into the crucible of our bodies as the burning away happens. This suggests a metaphor for an alchemical process that purifies and encourages us to achieve a clearer spiritual state.'

'As a composer, I was drawn to create a work inspired by the Revelations because I have lived in Norfolk for 30 years and have visited Julian’s church on many occasions. Also because of my own experiences as a teenager when I contracted Bornholm’s disease which attacks the diaphragm with excruciating pain and creates high fever. When the Covid Omicron variant visited me at Christmas my dreams consisted of interior images of musically tight figures. On a subliminal level it seemed to me that these repeating images mimicked the efficacy of my jabs, and so I was experiencing at a cellular level the arrested effects of the virus. Within a few days I was recovering well. However, this experience set me thinking about facing up to the issues around fever and death. Coinciding with these thoughts, I won a composing residency from the Aldeburgh Foundation for two weeks in February this year, and submitted a proposal to compose a choral work for three female singers and string orchestra. At Aldeburgh I was housed in isolation at the Cosy Nook in Benjamin Britten and Peter Pear’s garden at The Red House.'  Here is a short video about my time there, and here is a sample of the music, an instrumental interlude called Soul Depth.

I very much hope to bring Revelations of Divine Love to Norwich for the 650th anniversary of Julian’s Shewings.
Meanwhile you can attend performances at Cley Church on Saturday 17th September 2022 at 7.30pm
Tickets £15 from
 and Binham Priory on Sunday 18th September at 3.00pm
Tickets £15 from Mrs Frost:

You can also purchase the sheet music here

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