Presented in the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic on October 8, 2013.
350 years ago a Scottish woman whose name was Isobel Gowdie told the story of her life. Three hundred years later the Scottish composer James MacMillan borrowed her story to compose the requiem “The Confession of Isobel Gowdie”.
What was the story told by the red-headed beauty during the trial?
“When I was fifteen years old, I saw an elegant gentleman wearing a grey coat. He was standing in the choir gallery in a village church; he was holding a black book in his hands; he ordered me to renounce Jesus Christ. He sucked some of my blood and “re-baptized” me with this blood, giving me the name of Janet; then he placed his mark on my shoulder.”
“Yes, I took part in the witches’ Sabbaths. There were always thirteen of us.”
Isobel Gowdie confessed that she had been a witch for more than 15 years and during the trial she requested that she should be punished. “I do not deserve staying here among you like this unpunished,” she told the judges. “I must be put onto the iron torture bench.”
It is still unclear what made this woman confess after many years of witchcraft and why she confessed. We know nothing about the decision of the Scottish court and what happened to Isobel Gowdie.
However, the name of Isobel has lived through the ages: on pages of books and in musical scores.
“The Confession of Isobel Gowdie” composed by the contemporary composer James MacMillan will be performed on October 8, 2013 at the concert of the Eurasia Festival. The program also includes compositions of British composers Elgar, Ellin and Britten; the compositions will be performed by the Ural Academic Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Ellin.