1984, Music

Solomon (1984, 2006) by Georg Friedrich Handel, performed by Watkinson, Argenta, Hendricks, Rolfe Johnson, Montverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner

This is a pretty magnificent oratorio that might best be described by the word sumptuous.

Though only a small part of it was semi-familiar to me before hearing it, I think this is probably the greatest thing of Handel’s I have encountered to date. It certainly feels much more musically complex than most of his other stuff, which has always struck me as being Baroque-light.

I am a big fan of this and it is causing me to rethink his work.


  1. Act One
    1. Overture
    2. Scene 1: Solomon, Zadok, priests and chorus
      1. Your harps and cymbals (chorus)
      2. Praise ye the Lord (Levite – air)
      3. With pious heart (chorus)
      4. Almighty Power (Solomon – accompagnato)
      5. Imperial Solomon (Zadok – recitative)
      6. Sacred raptures (Zadok – air)
      7. Throughout the land (chorus)
      8. Bless’d be the Lord (Solomon – recitative)
      9. What though I trace (Solomon – air)
    3. Scene 2: To them the Queen
      1. And see my Queen (Solomon – recitative)
      2. Bless’d the day (Queen – air)
      3. Thou fair inhabitant of Nile (Solomon, Queen – recitative)
      4. Welcome as the dawn of day (Queen Solomon – duet)
      5. Vain are the transient beauties (Solomon – recitative)
      6. Indulge thy faith (Zadok – air)
      7. My blooming fair (Solomon – recitative)
      8. Haste to the cedar grove (Solomon – air)
      9. When thou art absent (Queen – recitative)
      10. With thee th’unshelter’d moor (Queen – air)
      11. May no rash intruder (“Nightingale Chorus”) (chorus)
  2. Act Two
    1. Scene 1: Solomon, Zadok, Levite, chorus of priests and Israelites
      1. From the censer curling rise (chorus)
      2. Prais’d be the Lord (Solomon – recitative)
      3. When the sun o’er yonder hills (Solomon – air)
      4. Great prince (Levite – recitative)
      5. Thrice bless’d that wise discerning king (Levite – air)
    2. Scene 2: To them an attendant
      1. My sovereign liege (Attendant, Solomon – recitative)
    3. Scene 3: To them the two harlots
      1. Thou son of David (First harlot – recitative)
      2. Words are weak (First and second harlot, Solomon – trio)
      3. What says the other (Solomon, second harlot – recitative)
      4. Thy sentence, great king (Second harlot – air)
      5. Withhold, withhold the executing hand (First harlot – recitative)
      6. Can I see my infant gor’d (First harlot – air)
      7. Israel attend (Solomon – accompagnato)
      8. Thrice bless’d be the king (First harlot, Solomon – duet)
      9. From the east unto the west (chorus)
      10. From morn to eve (Zadok – recitative)
      11. See the tall palm (Zadok – air).
      12. No more shall armed bands (First harlot – recitative)
      13. Beneath the vine (First harlot – air)
      14. Swell, swell the full chorus (chorus)
  3. Act Three
    1. Sinfonia (“Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”)
    2. Solomon, Queen of Sheba, Zadok, chorus of Israelites
    3. From Arabia’s spicy shores (Queen of Sheba, Solomon – recitative)
    4. Ev’ry sight these eyes behold (Queen of Sheba – air)
    5. Sweep, sweep the string (Solomon – recitative)
    6. Music spread thy voice around (Solomon and chorus)
    7. Now a different measure (Solomon and chorus)
    8. Then at once from rage remove (Solomon – recitative)
    9. Draw the tear from hopeless love (chorus)
    10. Next the tortur’d soul release (Solomon – recitative)
    11. Thus rolling surges rise (Solomon and chorus)
    12. Thy harmony’s divine (Queen of Sheba – recitative)
    13. Pious king (Levite – air)
    14. Thrice happy king (Zadok – recitative)
    15. Golden columns (Zadok – air)
    16. Praise the Lord (chorus)
    17. Gold now is common (Solomon – recitative)
    18. How green our fertile pastures look (Solomon – air)
    19. May peace in Salem (Queen of Sheba – recitative)
    20. Will the sun forget to streak (Queen of Sheba – air)
    21. Adieu, fair queen (Solomon – recitative)
    22. Ev’ry joy that wisdom knows (Queen of Sheba, Solomon – duet)
    23. The name of the wicked (chorus)

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