Purchase through our Online Store (opens in a new window)  CD Cover

Reviews about the release

Contact us via e-mail


MP3 Samples - some highlights from this release



Recorded authentically in dorect 2-track-stereo



George Frideric Handel
English Oratorio in three acts,
performed according to the traditions of the time


Stephen Varcoe - Bass (Saul)
Nancy Argenta - Soprano (Michal)
Laurie Reviol - Soprano (Merab)
Michael Chance - Alto, Countertenor (David)
Mark Le Brocq - Tenor (Jonathan)
Michael Berner - Tenor (Abner, High Priest, Witch Of Endor, Amalekite)
Steffen Balbach - Bass (Samuel, Doeg)

Hanoverian Court Orchestra (on period instruments)
Maulbronn Chamber Choir

Conductor: Jürgen Budday

A concert hosted by Klosterkonzerte Maulbronn
at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery,
September 28th & 29th, 2002.

Released & created by Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler
in cooperation with Jürgen Budday.
Sound & Recording Engineer: Andreas Otto Grimminger
Mastering: Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler
Photography: Josef-Stefan Kindler
Artwork & Coverdesign: Josef-Stefan Kindler

2 CD-Box, DDD, Total Playing Time: 02:37:17
KuK 83, ISBN 978-3-930643-83-7, EAN 42 6000591 019 3
Copyright by K&K Verlagsanstalt anno 2002.


This live recording is part of a cycle of oratorios and masses, performed in the basilica of Maulbronn Abbey under the direction of Jürgen Budday. The series combines authentically performed oratorios and masses with the optimal acoustics and atmosphere of this unique monastic church. This ideal location demands the transparency of playing and the interpretive unveiling of the rhetoric intimations of the composition, which is especially aided by the historically informed performance. The music is exclusively performed on reconstructed historical instruments, tuned in the pitch, which was customary during the composer's lifetime (this performance is tuned in a' = 415 Hz).

Copyright by K&K Verlagsanstalt. View more at: The K&K Movie Channel.


In July 1738 Handel began to compose the monumental and heroic story of Saul. The libretto had been put together by Charles Jennens, a very wealthy literary dilettante with many pretensions, but some talent. He played to Handel's strengths, and gave the composer many dramatic opportunities in the libretto. Handel had a difficult time finishing this oratorio, interrupting it to compose the opera Imeneo.

The story of David and Saul has always been a popular one, and on the English stage it is represented by a magnificent operatic scena by Henry Purcell. The tragedy of Saul is stark, and concerns his derangement, his moral failings, and his heroism. The drama is given a spiritual and magical element with the Witch of Endor and the ghost of Samuel as intermediaries into the next world. The dramatic chorus, again used as a chorus might be used in a classic Greek tragedy, moves the drama along, creates the moods, and influences the action. It is a chorus of Saul's people, who are heavily involved in his fate, and in the results of his actions. Handel composed for bass voice, tenor, and countertenor, and refrained from introducing into the score a virtuosic castrato as was common in his day. The somberness of the story required natural male voices whose depth adds to the gravity and weight of the outcome. The tragedy of Saul is filled with high drama, and although the chorus again proves the flexibility of the oratorio form, the characterizations and solo music are filled with passion, and vigor.

The first scene opens in the Israelitish camp, where the people join in a song of Triumph over Goliath and the Philistines. It is made up of a chorus ("How excellent Thy Name, O Lord!"), which is a stirring tribute of praise; an aria ("An Infant raised by Thy Command"), describing the meeting of David and Goliath; a trio, in which the giant is pictured as the "monster atheist," striding along to the vigorous and expressive music; and three closing choruses ("The Youth inspired by Thee"), ("How excellent Thy Name"), and a jubilant ("Hallelujah"), ending in plain but massive harmony.
The second scene is in Saul's tent. Two bars of recitative prelude an aria by Michal, Saul's daughter, who reveals her love for David ("O god-like Youth!"). Abner presents David to Saul, and a dialogue ensues between them, in which the conqueror announces his origin, and Saul pleads with him to remain, offering the hand of his daughter Merab as an inducement. David, whose part is sung by a contralto, replies in a beautiful aria, in which he attributes his success to the help of the Lord alone. In the next four numbers the friendship of Jonathan and David is cemented, which is followed by a three-verse hymn ("While yet Thy Tide of Blood runs high") of a stately character, sung by the High Priest. In a few bars of recitative Saul betroths his daughter Merab to David; but the girl replies in a vigorous aria ("My Soul rejects the Thought with Scorn"), in which she declares her intention of frustrating the scheme to unite a plebeian with the royal line. It is followed by a plaintive but vigorous aria ("See with what a scornful Air"), sung by Michal, who again gives expression to her love for David.
The next scene is entitled "Before an Israelitish City," and is prefaced with a short symphony of a jubilant character. A brief recitative introduces the maidens of the land singing and dancing in praise of the victor, leading up to one of Handel's finest choruses ("Welcome, welcome, mighty King") -- a fresh, a vigorous semi-chorus accompanied by the carillons, in which Saul's jealousy is aroused by the superiority of prowess attributed to David. It is followed by a furious aria ("With Rage I shall burst, his Praises to hear"). Jonathan laments the imprudence of the women in making comparisons, and Michal suggests to David that it is an old malady which may be assuaged by music, and in an aria ("Fell Rage and black Despair") expresses her belief that the monarch can be cured by David's persuasive lyre."
The next scene is in the King's house. David sings an aria ("O Lord whose Mercies numberless"), followed by a harp solo; but in vain. Jonathan is in despair, and Saul, in an aria ("A Serpent in my Bosom warmed"), gives vent to his fury and hurls his javelin at David. The latter escapes; and in furious recitative Saul charges his son to destroy him. The next number is an aria of Merab ("Capricious Man, in Humor lost"), lamenting Saul's temper; and Jonathan follows with a dramatic recitative and aria, in which he refuses to obey his father's behest. The High Priest appeals to Heaven ("O Lord, whose Providence") to protect David, and the first part closes with a powerful chorus ("Preserve him for the first part closes with a powerful chorus ("Preserve him for the Glory of Thy Name").

The second part is laid in the place, and opens with a powerfully descriptive chorus ("Envy, eldest-born of Hell!"). In the noble song ("But sooner Jordan's Stream, I swear") Jonathan assures David he will never injure him. In a colloquy between them David is informed that Saul has bestowed the hand of the haughty Merab on Adriel, and Jonathan pleads the cause of the lovely Michal. Saul approaches, and David retires. Saul inquires of Jonathan whether he has obeyed his commands, and in a simple sweet, and flowing melody ("Sin not, O King, against the Youth") he seems to overcome the wrath of the monarch, who dissembles and welcomes David, bidding him to repel to the insults of the Philistines, and offering him his daughter Michal as a proof of his sincerity. In the second scene Michal declares her love for David, and they join in a raptorous duet ("O fairest of ten thousand fair"), which is followed by a chorus in simple harmony ("Is there a Man who all his Ways"). A long symphony follows, preparing the way for the attempt on David's Life. After an agitated duet with Michal ("At Persecution I can laugh"), David makes his escape just as Doeg, the messenger, enters with instructions to bring David to the King's chamber. He is shown the image in David's bed, which he says will only enrage the King still more. Michal sings an exultant aria ("No, let the Guilty tremble"), and even Merab, won over by David's qualities, pleads for him in a beautiful aria ("Author of Peace"). Another symphony intervenes, preluding the celebration of the feast of the new moon in the place, to which David has been invited. Jonathan again interposes with an effort to save David's life, whereupon Saul, in a fresh outburst of indignation, hurls his javelin at his son, and the chorus bursts out in horror ("Oh, fatal Consequence of Rage!").

The third part opens with the intensely dramatic scene with the Witch of Endor, the interview being preluded by the powerful recitative ("Wretch that I am!"). The second scene is laid in the Witch's abode, where the incantation is practised that brings up the apparition of Samuel. This scene closes with an elegy foreboding the coming tragedy. The third scene opens with the interview between David and the Amalekite who brings the tidings of the death of Saul and Jonathan. It is followed by that magnificent dirge, the "Dead March," whose simply yet solemn and majestic strains are familiar to every one. The trumpets and trombones with their sonorous pomp and the wailing oboes and clarinets make an instrumental pageant which is the very apotheosis of grief. The effect of the march is all the more remarkable when it is considered that, in contradistinction to all other dirges, it is written in the major key. The chorus ("Mourn, Israel, mourn thy Beauty lost"), and the three arias of lament sung by David, which follow, are all characterized by feelings of the deepest gloom. A short chorus ("Eagles were not so swift as they") follows, and then David gives voice to his lament over Jonathan in an aria of exquisite tenderness ("In sweetest Harmony they lived"), at the close of which he joins with the chorus in an obligato of sorrowful grandeur ("Oh, fatal Day, how long the Mighty Lie!"). In an exultant strain Abner bids the "men of Judah weep no more," and the animated martial chorus ("Gird on thy Sword, thou Man of Might") closes this great dramatic oratorio.

The Performers

Stephen Varcoe - Bass (Saul)
The English bass-baritone, Stephen (Chistopher) Varcoe, studied at Cambridge, and during his school years there he sang in the King's College Choir. In 1977 he won a scholarship from the Gulbenkian Foundation. Stephen Varcoe has established a reputation as one of Britain's most versatile baritones, and has sung in opera, concerts and recitals covering a wide range of repertoire in Europe, the USA and the Far East. He is often to be heard performing Bach Cantatas, Songs from Schubert, and Victorian Ballads. His musical repertoire is quite extensive and reaches into modern music. An area of emphasis, however, is compositions from the time of Bach and Händel. Stephen has always been fascinated by the relationship between words and music, and the role of the singer in communicating meaning to an audience and is currently writing a book on singing in English. He is in constant demand for Master Classes as a specialist in German lieder and English songs, having taught at many UK Universities and Colleges. Stephen Varcoe's operatic appearances include Haydn's L'Infedelta Delusa in Antwerp, Debussy's Fall of The House of Usher in Lisbon and London, John Tavener's opera Mary Of Egypt for the Aldeburgh Festival and Plutone in Peri's Euridice for the Drottningholm Festival, Sweden. His repertoire also includes Death in Holst's Savitr, Demetrius in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Salieri in Rimsky Korsakov's Mozart & Salieri.
Stephen Varcoe has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, the Hanover Band, at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal, at the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa, with the King's Consort, at the Festival Cervantino in Mexico, and with conductors Frans Brüggen, Daniel, John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, Lindberg, Charles Mackerras, Malgoire, Minkowski, Östman, Trevor Pinnock, Joshua Rifkin, Roszdevensky and Tortelier. Recent engagements have included Goehr's Sonata About Jerusalem with Knussen and the Schoenberg Ensemble, Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with Trevor Pinnock in Ottawa, Bach Cantatas with the Bach Sonnerie at the Spitalfields Festival, Vaughan-Williams' Sir John In Love with Richard Hickox and the Northern Sinfonia, Webern Cantata II with Simon Joly and The BBC Symphony Orchestra, Schubert's Mass in E flat with Roger Norrington and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Messiah with Steuart Bedford the City of London Sinfonia.
Stephen Varcoe appears regularly in recital in England and abroad and is heard frequently in recital with the Songmakers' Almanac and on BBC Radio 3. Recent recital work has included a programme of Finzi and Somervell with Iain Burnside, Schubert's Winterreise with Eugene Asti, Brahms, Schumann and Wolf at the Wigmore Hall with Graham Johnson, Grainger with Penelope Thwaites for BBC Radio 3 and Schubert and with Graham Johnson at the Bury St Edmund's Festival.
Stephen Varcoe has made over 100 recordings including Purcell, Händel and Bach with Pinnock, John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox and Sigiswald Kuijken, Mozart with Neville Marriner, Fauré with Rutter, Holst with Richard Hickox, Richard Strauss with Roger Norrington, recitals of Finzi and Parry with Clifford Benson and French songs with Graham Johnson, with whom he recorded Volume 2 in the Hyperion Schubert edition. He has also recorded Haydn and Grainger for Chandos with Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia, Schoenberg with Robert Craft and The 20th Century Classics Ensemble and Stravinsky with Robert Craft and The Orchestra of St. Luke's.

Nancy Argenta - Soprano (Michal)
The Canadian singer counts for many as "the supreme Handel soprano of our age". She started her musical studies in British Columbia where she graduated in 1980 from the University of Western Ontario. Her teachers included Sir Peter Pears, Gérard Souzay and Vera Rozsa with whom she occasionally still works. Her repertoire stretches from the 17th century to today and includes songs, oratorios and Opera. She is a frequent guest of many international festivals such as those in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Bath, Berlin, Göttingen, New York and Vienna.

Laurie Reviol - Sopran (Merab)
The Canadian born soprano studied piano and voice in Toronto. She also completed an artistic study in the field of historic performance practices at the College of Performing Arts in Frankfurt. She is a member of the Ensemble Leonarda. Opera engagements have taken her to Frankfurt, Bayreuth, Schwerin and Quedlinburg and also to Utrecht (Festival Oude Musziek), Vienna and to America (Boston Early Music Festival). She has worked with, among others, Erin Headley, Michael Schneider, Stephen Stubbs und Paul O'Dette. Laurie Reviol is also a passionate jazz singer.

Michael Chance - Countertenor (David)

Michael Chance - Countertenor (Daniel)Michael Chance's carrier began, as did so many of his colleagues, in King's College, Cambridge, as countertenor in England's conceivably most famous choir. Today he is one of the worlds most sought after countertenors, not only for opera - he sang, for example, the military governor in the world première of Judith Weir's "A Night at the Chinese Opera" - but also for oratorios and songs. He is a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music, London. He performs often in Paris, Amsterdam, Stuttgart and Berlin and has also been in America, Japan and Australia many times. Frieder Bernius, Frans Brüggen, John Eliot Gardiner and Trevor Pinnock are just some of the conductors that he works with regularly. A specialty of Michael Chance's is the song evenings he gives with the Gamben-Consort Fretwork, Nigel North and, more recently, Roger Vignoles, in which he sings pieces for voice and lute from the English Renaissance and also, frequently, works from contemporary, mostly English composers.

Mark Le Brocq - Tenor (Jonathan)

Mark LeBrocq - Tenor (Belshazzar, Arioch)Mark LeBrocq held a choral scholarship at St Catherine's College, Cambridge where he read English. He won several prizes and awards at the Royal Academy of Music including the Blyth Buesset Opera Prize, the Royal Academy of Music Club Prize and the Worshipful Company of Musicians' Medal. He was formerly a company principal with the English National Opera. Over the years, the tenor has worked together with many important directors, including David Alden, David Poutney, Jonathan Miller, Niklaus Lehnhoff, Graham Vick and David Freeman. He performed regularly with the Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh. He sang with Monserat Caballé and Dennis O'Neill in Verdi Opera Galas in Bath, the Mozart and the Verdi Requiems in the Barbican Centre, London and the Mozart Requiem with The English Concert under Trevor Pinnock in Salzburg.

Michael Berner - Tenor (Abner, High Priest, Witch Of Endor, Amalekite)

Steffen Balbach - Bass (Samuel, Doeg)
studied church music at the College of Church Music, Esslingen. He was full time cantor of the ev. Christuskirche in Donaueschingen. He completed his vocal studies at the Freiburg Conservatory with the highest possible point count. Since then, he has sung the bass and baritone parts of countless oratorios, cantatas and masses. In 2001 he reached the final round of the renowned international vocal competition Belvedere in Vienna. Stefan Balbach works with the choir of Radio Bavaria and the Gewandhaus-Kammerchor, Leipzig. He has been a member of the National Opera, Stuttgart since 2002.

Hanoverian Court Orchestra (Hannoversche Hofkapelle)
The Hanoverian Court Orchestra maintains the tradition of the historic court orchestras and performs with both chamber and symphonic instrumentation. The fact that its members also play in other European Baroque formations, helps forge the sound of the ensemble. The repertoire of the Hanoverian Court Orchestra not only incorporates Baroque music in all its forms, but also Romantic pieces and Classical works, especially Mozart's operas and the Romantic genre. The continual involvement with the music of the 17th and 18th century has allowed each of the Court Orchestra's musicians to become a master of his instrument. From this emerges the expressive and elegant playing that allows the Hanoverian Court Orchestra to maintain its prominent position.

Maulbronn Chamber Choir (Maulbronner Kammerchor)

The Maulbronn Chamber Choir was founded by its director, Jürgen Budday, in 1983 and is one of the top choirs in Germany today. In addition to learning a baroque oratorio, the ensemble compiles a sacred and secular a-cappella programme every year, its focal point being 19th and 20th century literature. First prize at the Baden Württemberg Choir Competition in 1989 and 1997, second prize at the Third German Choir Competition in Stuttgart in 1990, and a victory at the Fifth German Choir Competition in Regensburg in 1998 document the chamber choir's extraordinary musical standard. The Maulbronn Chamber Choir has received, among others, invitations to the Ettlingen Palace Festival, the chamber music series of the Dresden Philharmonic, the cloister concerts at the Walkenried convent, the First International Festival of Sacred Music in Rottenburg, and the European Music Festival in Passau. The choir has also made a name for itself internationally. The 1983 debut tour through the USA with concerts in, among others, New York and Indianapolis, and the participation in the Festival of Music in New Harmony, Indiana, as well as concert tours through numerous European countries, Israel, Argentina (1993 and 1997), South Africa, and Namibia (2001) were all greeted with similar enthusiasm by the public and critics alike. The third tour through South America followed in autumn 2003 with concerts in Argentina and Uruguay.

Jürgen Budday (Conductor)

Jürgen Budday (Conductor)Jürgen Budday (born 1948 in Germany) is director of church music, music teacher and artistic director of the concert series at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Abbey. He started teaching at the Evangelical Seminar in Maulbronn in 1979. This also involved his taking over as artistic director of the Maulbronn Monastery Concerts and the cantor choir. He studied church music and musicology at the Academy of Music in Stuttgart from 1967 to 1974. In 1992, he was named Director of Studies, in 1995 came the appointment as Director of Church Music and in 1998 he was awarded the "Bundesverdienstkreuz" (German Cross of Merit) as well as the Bruno-Frey Prize from the State Academy in Ochsenhausen for his work in music education. In 1983 Jürgen Budday founded the Maulbronn Chamber Choir ("Maulbronner Kammerchor"), with whom he won numerous national and international awards. At the Prague International Choir Festival, for example, Jürgen Budday received an award as best director. Since 2002 he has also held the chair of the Choral Committee with the German Music Council. In 2011, Jürgen Budday has been awarded the honorary title "Professor" by the Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, who dignified Mr Budday to be an illustrious musical ambassador of Baden-Württemberg. Jürgen Budday has started a cycle of Handel oratorios that is planned to span several years, which involves working with soloists like Emma Kirkby, Miriam Allan, Michael Chance, Nancy Argenta and Mark Le Brocq (to name but a few). The live recordings of these performances, that have received the highest praise from reviewers, has won him international recognition. Till these days 10 oratorios by G.F.Handel are documented on discs.
"No conductor and no choir have so consistently recorded so many Handel oratorios as Jürgen Budday and his Maulbronn Chamber Choir" (Dr. Karl Georg Berg, Handel Memoranda Halle 2008)

Hannoversche Hofkapelle / Hanoverian Court Orchestra:

Marleen Goede-Uter - Concertmaster
Christoph Heidemann, Stephanie Bücker, Heidrun Heidarsdottir,
Susanne Dietz, Eva Politt, Birgit Fischer, Klaus Bona - Violin
Bettina Ihrig, Hella Hartmann, Mechtild Werner - Viola
Dorothee Palm, Daniela Wartenberg - Cello
Cordula Cordes, Christian Zincke - Bass Viol
Joachim Klingenfuß - Lute
Christine Alanique, Luise Baumgartl - Oboe
Rhoda Patrick, Uschi Bruckdorfer - Bassoon
Friedemann Immer, Christoph Draeger - Baroque Trumpet
Miha Suler, Wolf-Hagen Hoyer, Sandor Sabor - Trombone
Simon Stierle - Baroque Timpani
Gregor Hollmann - Organ (Regal), Harpsichord, Celesta

Maulbronner Kammerchor / Maulbronn Chamber Choir:

Sylvia Dieter, Katharina Eberhardt, Heidi Ehmer, Susanne Ferber, Ilka Hüftle, Susanne Laenger,
Veronika Miehlich, Ina Probst, Sabine Stöffler, Heike Thordsen, Silke Vogelmann, Miriam Wolff

Marianne Dohse, Roswitha Fydrich-Steiner, Kathrin Gölz, Barbara Hirsch, Dietling Mayer, Hella Pilz,
Beate Roth, Renate Secker, Bettina van der Ham, Almut Wien

Johannes Budday, Sebastian Fuierer, Hartmut Meier, Mathias Michel, Konrad Mohl, Joachim Roth, Rudolf Roth

Paul-Theodor Bräuchle, Jo Dohse, Daniel Fritsch, Rainer Hirsch-Luipold,
Matthias Kögel, Hansjörg Lechler, Burkhard Miehlich, Rolf Most

The Maulbronn Monastery CD Series

Publishing culture in its authentic form entails for us capturing and recording for posterity outstanding performances and concerts. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value.

The concerts in Maulbronn monastery, which we document with this edition, supply, the ideal conditions for our aspirations. It is, above all, the atmosphere of the romantic, candle-lit arches, the magic of the monastery in its unadulterated sublime presence and tranquillity that impresses itself upon the performers and audience of these concerts. Renowned soloists and ensembles from the international arena repeatedly welcome the opportunity to appear here - enjoying the unparalleled acoustic and architectural beauty of this World Heritage Site (monastery church, cloister gardens, lay refectory, etc.), providing exquisite performances of secular and sacred music.

Under the patronage of the Evangelical Seminar, the Maulbronn Monastery Cloister Concerts were instigated in 1968 with an abundance of musical enthusiasm and voluntary leadership. Within the hallowed walls of the classical grammar and boarding school, existent for more than 450 years, some of society's great thinkers, poets and humanists, such as Kepler, Hölderlin, Herwegh and Hesse received their first impressions.

The youthful elan, the constructive participation of the pupils, continuing the tradition of their great predecessors, constructs an enlightened climate in which artistic ambitions can especially thrive. Twenty-five concerts take place between May and September. Their success can be largely attributed to the many voluntary helpers from near and far. There is a break for winter.

Flourishing culture in a living monument, created for the delight of the live audience and, last but not least, you the listener, are the ideals we document with this series.

Jürgen Budday, Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler



Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759) · S A U L
An Oratorio; or Sacred Drama (1739)

Words by Charles Jennens


Saul (bass)

Merab (soprano)
Michal (soprano)

David (alto)

Samuel (bass)
Doeg (bass)

Jonathan (tenor)
High Priest (tenor)
Witch of Endor (tenor)
Abner (tenor)
Amalekite (tenor)

Chorus of Israelites

Disc 1

1. Ouverture:
Symphony (Allegro - Larghetto - Allegro)

Act The First

Scene 1
An Epinicion or Song of Triumph,
for the victory over Goliath and the Philistines.

2. Chorus of Israelites
How excellent Thy name, O Lord,
In all the world is known!
Above all Heav'ns, O King ador'd,
How hast Thou set Thy glorious throne!

3. Air (soprano)
An infant rais'd by Thy command,
To quell Thy rebel foes,
Could fierce Goliath's dreadful hand
Superior in the fight oppose.

4. Trio
Along the monster atheist strode,
With more than human pride,
And armies of the living God
Exulting in his strength defied.

5. Chorus of Israelites
The youth inspir'd by Thee, O Lord,
With ease the boaster slew:
Our fainting courage soon restor'd,
And headlong drove that impious crew.

6. Chorus of Israelites
How excellent Thy name, O Lord,
In all the world is known!
Above all Heavn's, O King ador'd,
How hast thou set Thy glorious throne!

Scene 2
Saul, Jonathan, Merab, Michal and Abner,
introducing David and the High Priest.

7. Recitative, Michal
He comes, he comes!

Air, Michal
O godlike youth, by all confess'd
Of human race the pride!
O virgin among women blest,
Whom Heav'n ordains thy bride!
But ah, how strong a bar I see
Betwixt my happiness and me!
O godlike youth... da capo

8. Recitative

Behold, O king, the brave, victorious youth,
And in his hand the haughty giant's head.

Young man, whose son art thou?

The son of Jesse,
Thy faithful servant, and a Bethlemite.

Return no more to Jesse; stay with me;
And as an earnest of my future favour,
Thou shalt espouse my daughter: small reward
Of such desert, since to thy arm alone
We owe our safety, peace and liberty.

9. Air, David
O king, your favours with delight
I take, but must refuse your praise:
For every pious Israelite
To God that tribute pays.
Through Him we put to flight our foes,
And in His name,
We trod them under that against us rose.
O king... da capo

10. Recitative, Jonathan
Oh,early piety! Oh, modest merit!
In this embrace my heart bestows itself;
Henceforth, thou noble youth, accept my frienship,
And Jonathan and David are but one.

Air, Merab
What abject thoughts a prince can have!
In rank a prince, in mind a slave.

11. Recitative, Merab (aside, to Jonathan)
Yet think on whom this honour you bestow;
How poor in fortune, and in birth how low!

Air, Jonathan
Birth and fortune I despise!
From virtue let my friendship rise.
(To David)
No titles proud thy stem adorn,
Yet born of God is nobly born,
And of His gifts so rich thy store,
That Ophir to thy wealth is poor.
Birth and fortune... da capo

12. Recitative

Thou, Merab, first in birth, be first in honour:
Thine be the valiant youth, whose arm has sav'd
Thy country from her foes.

Merab (aside)
Oh, mean alliance!

Air, Merab
My soul rejects the thought with scorn,
That such a boy, till now unknown,
Of poor plebeian parents born,
Should mix with royal blood his own!
Though Saul's command I can't decline,
I must prevent his low design,
And save the honour of his line.

13. Air, Michal
See, with what a scornful air
She the precious gift receives!
Though e'er so noble, or so fair,
She cannot merit what he gives.

Air, Michal
Ah, lovely youth, wast thou design'd
With that proud beauty to be joined?

14. Symphony

Recitative, Michal
Already see the daughters of the land,
In joyful dance, with instruments of music,
Come to congratulate your victory.

Scene 3
Saul, Michal, Chorus.

15. Chorus of Israelites
Welcome, welcome, mighty king!
Welcome all who conquest bring!
Welcome David, warlike boy,
Author of our present joy!
Saul, who hast thy thousands slain,
Welcome to thy friends again!
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

16. Accompagnato, Saul
What do I hear? Am I then sunk so low,
To have this upstart boy preferr'd before me?

Chorus of Israelites
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

17. Accompagnato, Saul
To him ten thousands, and to me but thousands!
What can they give him more, except the kingdom?

Air, Saul
With rage I shall burst his praises to hear!
Oh, how I both hate the stripling, and fear!
What mortal a rival in glory can bear?

Scene 4

18. Recitative

Imprudent women! Your ill-timed comparisons,
I fear, have injured him you meant to honour.
Saul's furious look, as he departed hence,
Too plainly shew'd the tempest of his soul.

Michal (to David)
'Tis but his old disease, which thou canst cure:
Oh, take thy harp, and as thou oft hast done,
From the king's breast expel the raging fiend,
And sooth his tortur'd soul with sounds divine.

19. Air, Michal
Fell rage and black despair possess'd
With horrid sway the monarch's breast;
When David with celestial fire
Struck the sweet persuasive lyre:
Soft gliding down his ravish'd ears,
The healing sounds dispel his cares;
Despair and rage at once are gone,
And peace and hope resume the throne.

Scene 5
Saul, David, Jonathan, Merab,
Michal, Abner, High Priest.

20. Recitative, Abner
Racked with infernal pains, ev'n now the king
Comes forth, and mutters horrid words, which hell,
No human tongue, has taught him.

Air, David
O Lord, whose mercies numberless
O'er all thy works prevail:
Though daily man Thy law transgress,
Thy patience cannot fail.
If yet his sin be not too great,
The busy fiend control;
Yet longer for repentance wait,
And heal his wounded soul.

21. Symphony

22. Recitative, Jonathan
'Tis all in vain; his fury still continues:
With wild distraction on my friend he stares,
Stamps on the ground, and seems intent on mischief.

Air, Saul
A serpent, in my bosom warm'd,
Would sting me to the heart:
But of his venom soon disarm'd,
Himself shall feel the smart.
Ambitious boy! Now learn what danger
It is to rouse a monarch's anger!
He throws his javelin.
Exit David.

23. Recitative, Saul
Has he escap'd my rage?
I charge thee, Jonathan, upon thy duty,
And all, on your allegiance, to destroy
This bold, aspiring youth; for while he lives,
I am not safe. Reply not, but obey.

Air, Merab
Capricious man, in humour lost,
By ev'ry wind of passion toss'd!
Now sets his vassal on the throne,
Then low as earth he casts him down!
His temper knows no middle state,
Extreme alike in love or hate.

Scene 6

24. Accompagnato, Jonathan
O filial piety! O sacred friendship!
How shall I reconcile you? Cruel father!
Your just commands I always have obeyed:
But to destroy my friend, the brave, the virtuous,
The godlike David, Israel's defender,
And terror of her foes! To disobey you -
What shall I call it? 'Tis an act of duty
To God, to David - nay, indeed, to you.

25. Air, Jonathan
No, cruel father, no!
Your hard commands I can't obey.
Shall I with sacrilegious blow
Take pious David's life away?
No, cruel father, no!
No, with my life I must defend
Against the world my best, my dearest friend.

26. Air, High Priest
O Lord, whose providence
Ever wakes for their defence
Who the ways of virtue choose:
Let not thy faithful servant fall
A victim to the rage of Saul
Who hates without a cause,
And, in defiance of thy laws,
His precious life pursues.

27. Chorus
Preserve him for the glory of Thy name,
Thy people's safety, and the heathen's shame.

Act The Second

Scene 1

28. Chorus
Envy, eldest born of hell,
Cease in human breasts to dwell,
Ever at all good repining,
Still the happy undermining!
God and man by thee infested,
Thou by God and man detested,
Most thyself thou dost torment,
At once the crime and punishment!
Hide thee in the blackest night:
Virtue sickens at thy sight!
Hence, eldest born of hell!
Hence cease in human breast to well.

Scene 2
Jonathan and David.

29. Recitative, Jonathan
Ah, dearest friend, undone by too much virtue!
Think you, an evil spirit was the cause
Of all my father's rage? It was, indeed,
A spirit of envy, and of mortal hate.
He has resolv'd your death; and sternly charg'd
His whole retinue, me especially,
To execute his vengeance.

Air, Jonathan
But sooner Jordan's stream, I swear,
Back to his spring shall swiftly roll,
Than I consent to hurt a hair
Of thee, thou darling of my soul.

CD 1

1. Ouvertüre:
Sinfonie (Allegro - Larghetto - Allegro)

Akt I

Szene I:
Triumphgesang auf den Sieg
über Goliath und die Philister.

2.. Chor der Israeliten
Wie wunderbar schallt, Herr,
dein Preis durch alle Welten weit!
Hoch über aller Himmel Kreis,
wie strahlt dein Thron in Herrlichkeit!

3. Arie (Sopran)
Ein Kind stand auf, von dir gesandt,
und brach der Feinde Wut,
und trotzte Goliaths Riesenhand
und warf ihn hin in Staub und Blut.

4. Trio (Chor)
Der Gottesleugner trat einher
mit übermütgem Spott,
und trotzte dem lebendgen Gott,
hohnlachend seinem Volk und Heer.

5. Chor
Der Jüngling kam, den Gott erkor,
und schlug das Ungetüm:
da flammt der Mut im Heer empor,
und wild zerstob der Feind vor ihm.

6. Chor
Wie wunderbar schallt, Herr,
dein Preis durch alle Welten weit!
Hoch über aller Himmel Kreis,
wie strahlt dein Thron in Herrlichkeit!

Scene II
Saul, Jonathan, Merab, Michal und Abner
stellen David und den Hohen Priester vor.

7. Rezitativ
Er kommt, er kommt!

Arie, Michal
Heil, junger Held, den alles Volk
voll Stolz und Staunen schaut!
Heil, Sel'ge, dir von allen Frau'n,
die ihm bestimmt zur Braut!
Doch weh der Schranke, die uns trennt,
mir ach! so süßes Los nicht gönnt!
Heil, junger Held... da capo

8. Rezitativ

Sieh da, o Herr, den tapferen jungen Held,
in seiner Hand des stolzen Riesen Haupt.

Sag an, wess Sohn bist du?

Ich bin der jüngste der Söhn' Isais,
und aus Bethlehem.

Kehr nicht zurück nach Hause: bleib bei uns;
und als ein Zeichen steter Gunst und Liebe
vermähl ich dir die Tochter: kleiner Lohn
für dein Verdienst! denn deinem Arm allein
verdank ich Freiheit, Fried' und Sicherheit.

9. Arie, David
O Herr, dein Lohn füllt mich mit Glück,
dein Lob weis ich beschämt zurück.
Wer fromm sich zu bescheiden weiß,
gibt Gott allein des Sieges Preis.
Er war's, vor dem der Feind zerstob,
vor seiner Kraft, vor seiner Kraft
erlag der wider uns sich stolz erhob.
O Herr... da capo

10. Rezitativ, Jonathan
O frühe Gottesfurcht! Bescheidne Tugend!
Mit dieser Hand nimm ganz mein Herz dahin;
schlag ein, du junger Held, zu diesem Bunde,
und Jonathan und David sind nur Eins.

Arie, Merab
Wie schändest du dein stolz Geschlecht!
An Rang ein Fürst, im Geist ein Knecht.

11. Rezitativ, Merab (abseits, zu Jonathan)
O denk, für wen dein Herz erglüht so warm;
von Stamm so niedrig, an Besitz so arm!

Arie, Jonathan
Rang und Hoheit sind mir Tand!
Nur Tugend schlingt der Freundschaft Band.
(Zu David)
Dir ward versagt des Stammes Glanz,
doch wand dir Gott der Ehren Kranz,
und krönte dich mit Schmuck so reich,
dem Ophir's Gold und Gut nicht gleich.
Rand und Hoheit... da capo

12. Rezitativ

Dein, Merab, von Geburt der ältsten Tochter,
dein sei der junge Held, dess Arm vom Feind
erlöste dieses Land.

O schmählich Bündnis!

Arie, Merab
Mein Herz schwillt auf in finstrem Groll,
dass solch ein Knab - o bittrer Hohn! -,
der arm und niedrer Eltern Sohn,
sein Haupt zu mir erheben soll!
Wie Saul mir auch ergrimmen mag,
doch wend ich ab den harten Schlag
und spar dem Hause solche Schmach.

13. Arie, Michal
Seht, wie sie so höhnschen Blicks
für die reiche Gabe dankt!
Wie hoch an Schönheit sie auch prangt,
sie kann nicht wert sein solchen Glücks.

Arie, Michal
Ach lieblich Bild, ward dir verhängt,
dass jene Stolze dich empfängt?

14. Sinfonie

Rezitativ, Michal
Doch siehe da! Die Töchter Israels nahn
im Feierzug, mit Saitenspiel und Reigen,
froh zu begrüßen euch im Siegsgesang

Scene III
Saul, Michal, Chor.

15. Chor der Israeliten
Heil dir, König, groß an Macht!
Heil den Kämpfern all der Schlacht!
Heil dir, David, junger Held,
der des Feindes Haupt gefällt!
Tausend schlug, o Saul, dein Schwert,
heil dir, der uns Sieg gewährt!
David warf zehntausend hin,
zehntausend Lieder preisen ihn.

16. Accompagnato, Saul
Ha, welche Schmach! Sank ich so tief herab,
dass dieser Knabe mir den Preis entziehen darf?

Chor der Israeliten
David warf zehntausend hin,
zehntausend Lieder preisen ihn.

17. Accompagnato, Saul
Für ihn zehntausend, und für mich nur tausend!
Was fehlt dem Frechen noch, als meine Krone?

Arie, Saul
Wie wallt mir vor Zorn im Busen das Blut!
Wie füllt mich mit Furcht der Knab und mit Wut!
Wer trüge den Frevel in duldendem Mut?
Saul verlässt die Szene.

Scene IV

18. Rezitativ

Betörte Weiber! Dies unzeitge Siegeslied,
fürwahr, gefährdet ihn, dess Ruhm ihr preiset.
Sauls wilder Blick, als er von hinnen ging,
verriet zu klar der Seele innren Sturm.

Du kennst sein altes Leid und heilst es leicht:
o nimm die Harf', und wie du oft getan,
stille die Wut in der empörten Brust,
und sänftge seine Qual mit süßem Ton.

19. Arie, Michal
Wild schwoll im Sturm empörter Wut,
in dunklem Groll des Königs Blut,
als Davids Spiel in holdem Klang
weckt der Harfe sanften Sang:
süß gleitend stillt' ihr reizvoll Lied
mit lindem Trost sein krank Gemüt.,
Melancholie und Gram entflohn,
und Fried und Ruh umgab den Thron.

Scene V
Saul, David, Jonathan, Merab,
Michal, Abner, Hoher Priester.

20. Rezitativ, Abner
Seht, wie von Höllenqual, voll Wut,
der Fürst sich naht und dumpfe Worte stöhnt,
die Hölle, nicht Menschenmund ihm eingab.

Arie, David
O Herr, dess Güte endlos ist,
wie deine Gnad und Huld:
auch ihm, der dein stets neu vergisst,
vergibst du in Geduld.
Wiegt nicht zu schwer des Königs Schuld,
so höre, Herr, mein Flehn:
harr seiner Reu noch in Geduld,
laß ihn Erbarmen sehn.

21. Sinfonie

22. Rezitativ, Jonathan
Es ist umsonst, sein Zorn entbrennt aufs neue:
in wildem Grolle starrt er auf den Freund,
stampfet den Grund und brütet über Unheil.

Arie, Saul
Die Schlang', im Busen aufgenährt,
droht mir mit giftgem Stich:
doch bald, durch meine Faust entwehrt,
krümmt sie im Staube sich.
Verwegner Knab!
Den Hochmut büßen sollst du
zu deines Königs Füßen.
David verlässt die Szene.

23. Rezitativ, Saul
Entging er meinem Grimm?
Ich mahn dich, Jonathan, bei deinem Leben,
und euch bei eurer Treue: tilget aus
den kühn verwegnen Jüngling! So lang er lebt,
droht mir Gefahr - kein Einwand, ich gebot.

Arie, Merab
Betörter Mann, der Launen Raub,
von jedem Windeshauch bewegt!
Der nun zum Thron den Sklaven trägt,
dann tief ihn stürzt zurück in Staub!
Sein feurig Herz ist ohne Maß
und ohne Ziel in Lieb und Haß.

Scene VI

24. Accompagnato, Jonathan
O heilige Kindespflicht! O treue Freundschaft!
Wie soll ich euch versöhnen? Harter Vater!
Stets war dein Wort Gebot mir und Befehl:
doch töten meinen Freund! den Held, den Tapfren,
den edlen David, Israels Erretter,
den Schrecken unsres Feinds - dir das versagen,
was wär es anders, als die Pflicht der Liebe
zu Gott, zu David - und, fürwahr, zu dir!

25. Arie, Jonathan
Nein, harter Vater, nein!
So schwarze Tat bringt nicht Gedeihn.
Soll ich mit frevelhaftem Mut
tauchen die Hand in Davids Blut?
Nein, harter Vater, nein!
Nein, dieses Herz sei stets vereint
in Not und Tod dem liebsten, besten Freund.

26. Arie, Hoher Priester
O herr, dess Vorbedacht
stets zu dessen Heile wacht,
der den Pfad der Tugend wallt:
sei deinem treuen Diener hold,
o schütze ihn vor Sauls Gewalt,
der unversöhnlich grollt und,
trotzend deinem Machtgebot
Verderb und Tod ihm droht.

27. Chor
O schirme ihn zu deines Namens Preis,
des Volkes Rettung und der Heiden Schmach.

Akt II

Scene I

28. Chor
Weiche! höllgeborner Neid!
Flieh der Menschen Brust allzeit!
Du, der alles Gute meidet,
sich an allem Unheil weidet,
wider Gott und Menschen streitet,
Gott und Menschen gleich verleidet,
du, an eignen Qualen reich,
und Sünd und Straf in dir zugleich:
weich in schwarze Nacht zurück,
Tugend bebt vor deinem Blick!
Flieh! höllgeborner Neid!
Flieh der Menschen Brust allzeit.

Scene II
Jonathan und David

Rezitativ, Jonathan
Ach, edler Freund, gestürzt durch zu viel Tugend!
Denkst du, ein böser Geist erfülle so
des Vaters Herz mit Wut? Es ist, fürwahr,
des tödlichen Neides und der Rache Geist.
Er sinnt auf deinen Tod, und er gebot
dem Kriegsgefolge, und dem Sohne selbst,
die Rache zu vollziehen.

Arie, Jonathan
Doch rollt des Jordans Strom fürwahr
zum Quell zurück die klare Flut,
eh diese Hand versehrt ein Haar
an dir, du edles, treues Blut.


Disc 2

1. Recitative, Jonathan
My father comes: retire, my friend, while I
With peaceful accents try to calm his rage.
Exit David.

Scene 3
Saul and Jonathan.

2. Recitative

Hast thou obey'd my orders, and destoy'd
My mortal enemy, the son of Jesse?

Alas, my father! He your enemy?
Say, rather, he has done important service
To you, and to the nation; hazarded
His life for both, and slain our giant foe,
Whose presence made the boldest of us tremble.

Air, Jonathan
Sin not, O king, against the youth,
Who ne'er offended you:
Think, to his loyalty and truth,
What great rewards are due!
Think with what joy this godlike man
You saw, that glorious day!
Think, and with ruin, if you can,
Such services repay.

3. Air, Saul
As great Jehovah lives, I swear,
The youth shall not be slain:
Bid him return, and void of fear
Adorn our court again.

4. Air, Jonathan
From cities stormed, and battles won,
What glory can accrue?
By this the hero best is known,
He can himself subdue.
Wisest and greatest of his kind,
Who can in reason's fetters bind
The madness of his angry mind!

Scene 4

5. Recitative

Appear, my friend.

Enter David.

No more imagine danger:
Be first in our esteem; with wonted valour
Repel the insults of the Philistines:
And as a proof of my sincerity -
Oh, hardness to dissemble! - instantly
Espouse my daughter Michal.

Air, David
Your words, O king, my loyal heart
With double ardour fire:
If God his usual aid impart,
Your foes shall feel what you inspire.
In all the dangers of the field,
The great Jehovah is my shield.
Exeunt David and Jonathan.

6. Recitative, Saul
Yes, he shall wed my daughter! But how long
Shall he enjoy her? He shall lead my armies!
But have the Philistines no darts, no swords,
To pierce the heart of David? Yes, this once
To them I leave him; they shall do me right!

Scene 5
David and Michal.

7. Recitative, Michal
A father's will has authorized my love:
No longer, Michal, then attempt to hide
The secret of my soul. I love thee, David,
And long have loved. Thy virtue was the cause;
And that be my defence.


O fairest of ten thousand fair,
Yet for thy virtue more admir'd!
Thy words and actions all declare
The wisdom by thy God inspir'd.

O lovely maid! Thy form beheld,
Above all beauty charms our eyes:
Yet still within thy form conceal'd,
Thy mind, a greater beauty, lies.

How well in thee does Heav'n at last
Compensate all my sorrows past.

8. Chorus
Is there a man, who all his ways,
Directs, his God alone to please?
In vain his foes against him move:
Superior pow'r their hate disarms;
He makes them yield to virtue's charms,
And melts their fury down to love.

9. Symphony

Scene 6
David and Michal.

10. Recitative, David
Thy father is as cruel, and as false,
As thou art kind and true. When I approach'd him,
New from the slaughter of his enemies,
His eyes with fury flam'd, his arms he rais'd,
With rage grown stronger; by my guiltless head
The javelin whizzing flew, and in the wall
Mock'd once again his impotence of malice.


At persecution I can laugh;
No fear my soul can move,
In God's protection safe,
And blest in Michal's love.

Ah, dearest youth, for thee I fear!
Fly, begone, for death is near!

Fear not, lovely fair, for me:
Death, where thou art, cannot be;
Smile, and danger is no more.

Fly, or death is at the door!
See, the murd'rous band comes on!
Stay no longer, fly, begone!

Scene 7
Michal and Doeg.

11. Recitative

Whom dost thou seek?
And who hast sent thee hither?

I seek for David, and am sent by Saul.

Thy errand?

'Tis a summons to the Court.

Say he is sick.

In sickness or in health,
Alive or dead, he must be brought to Saul;
Show me his chamber.
David's bed discovered with an image in it.
Do you mock the king?
This disappointment will enrage him more:
Then tremble for th'event.

Air, Michal
No, no, let the guilty tremble
At ev'ry thought of danger near.
Though numbers, armed with death, assemble,
My innocence disdains to fear.
Though great their power as their spite,
Undaunted still, my soul, remain:
For greater is Jehovah's might,
And will their lawless force restrain.

Scene 8

12. Recitative, Merab
Mean as he was, he is my brother now,
My sister's husband; and to speak the truth,
Has qualities which justice bids me love,
And pity his distress. My father's cruelty
Strikes me with horror! At th'approaching feast
I fear some dire event, unless my brother,
His friend, the faithful Jonathan, avert
Th'impending ruin. I know he'll do his best.

13. Air, Merab
Author of peace, who canst control
Every passion of the soul;
To whose good spirit alone we owe
Words that sweet as honey flow:
With thy dear influence his tongue be fill'd,
And cruel wrath to soft persuasion yield.

Scene 9
Saul at the Feast of the New Moon.

14. Symphony

15. Accompagnato, Saul
The time at length is come when I shall take
My full revenge on Jesses's son.
No longer shall the stripling make
His sov'reign totter on the throne.
He dies - this blaster of my fame,
Bane of my peace, and author of my shame!

Scene 10
Saul and Jonathan.

16. Recitative

Where is the son of Jesse? Comes he not
To grace our feast?

He earnestly ask'd leave
To go to Bethlem, where his father's house,
At solemn rites of annual sacrifice,
Requir'd his presence.

O perverse, rebellious!
Thinkst thou I do not know that thou hast chose
The son of Jesse to thy own confusion?
The world will say thou art no son of mine,
Who thus canst love the man I hate; the man
Who, if he lives, will rob thee of thy crown:
Send, fetch him thither; for the wretch must die.

What has he done? And wherefore must he die?

Darest thou oppose my will? Die then thyself!
He throws the javelin.

Exit Jonathan, then Saul.

17. Chorus
Oh, fatal consequence
Of rage, by reason uncontroll'd!
With every law he can dispense;
No ties the furious monster hold:
From crime to crime he blindly goes,
Nor end, but with his own destruction knows.

Act The Third

Scene 1
Saul disguised, at Endor.

18. Accompagnato, Saul
Wretch that I am, of my own ruin author!
Where are my old supports? The valiant youth,
Whose very name was terror to my foes,
My rage has drove away. Of God forsaken,
In vain I ask his counsel. He vouchsafes
No answer to the sons of disobedience!
Even my own courage fails me! Can it be?
Is Saul become a coward? I'll not believe it!
If Heav'n denies thee aid, seek it from hell!

19. Accompagnato, Saul
'Tis said, here lives a woman, close familiar
With th'enemy of mankind: her I'll consult,
And know the worst. Her art is death by law;
And while I minded law, sure death attended
Such horrid practises. Yet, oh hard fate,
Myself am now reduc'd to ask the counsel
Of those I once abhorr'd!

Scene 2
Saul and the Witch of Endor.

20. Recitative

With me what would'st thou?

I would, that by thy art thou bring me up
The man whom I shall name.

Alas! Thou know'st
How Saul has cut off those who use this art.
Would'st thou ensnare me?

As Jehovah lives,
On this account no mischief shall befall thee.

Whom shall I bring up to thee?

Bring up Samuel.

21. Air, Witch
Infernal spirits, by whose pow'r
Departed ghosts in living forms appear,
Add horror to the midnight hour,
And chill the boldest hearts with fear:
To this stranger's wond'ring eyes
Let the prophet Samuel rise!

Scene 3
Apparition of Samuel.

22. Accompagnato

Why hast thou forc'd me from the realms of peace
Back to this world of woe?

O holy prophet!
Refuse me not thy aid in this distress.
The num'rous foe stands ready for the battle:
God has forsaken me: no more he answers
By prophets or by dreams: no hope remains,
Unless I learn from thee from course to take.

Hath God forsaken thee? And dost thou ask
My counsel? Did I not foretell thy fate,
When, madly disobedient, thou didst spare
The curst Amalekite, and on the spoil
Didst fly rapacious? Therefore God this day
Hath verified my words in thy destruction,
Hath rent the kingdom from thee, and bestow'd it
On David, whom thou hatest for his virtue.
Thou and thy sons shall be with me tomorrow,
And Israel by Philistine arms shall fall.
The Lord hath said it: He will make it good.

23. Symphony

Scene 4
David and an Amalekite.

24. Recitative

Whence comest thou?

Out of the camp of Israel.

Thou canst inform me then. How went the battle?

The people, put to flight, in numbers fell,
And Saul, and Jonathan his son, are dead.

Alas, my brother! But how knowest thou
That they are dead?

Upon mount Gilboa
I met with Saul, just fall'n upon his spear;
Swiftly the foe pursu'd; he cried to me,
Begg'd me to finish his imperfect work,
And end a life of pain and ignominy.
I knew he could not live, therefore slew him;
Took from his head the crown, and from his arms
The bracelets, and have brought them to my lord.

Whence art thou?

Of the race of Amalek.

25. Air, David
Impious wretch, of race accurst!
And of all that race the worst!
How hast thou dar'd to lift thy sword
Again th'anointed of the Lord?
(To one of his attendants, who kills the Amalekite.)
Fall on him, smite him, let him die!
On thy own head thy blood will lie;
Since thy own mouth has testified,
By thee the Lord's anointed died.

26. Symphony: dead march

Scene 5
Elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan.

27. Chorus
Mourn, Israel, mourn thy beauty lost,
Thy choicest youth on Gilboa slain!
How have thy fairest hopes been cross'd!
What heaps of mighty warriors strew the plain!

28. Air, Merab
From this unhappy day
No more, ye Gilboan hills, on you
Descend refreshing rains or kindly dew,
Which erst your heads with plenty crown'd;
Since there the shield of Saul, in arms renown'd,
Was vilely cast away.

29. Air, David
Brave Jonathan his bow never drew,
But wing'd with death his arrow flew,
And drank the blood of slaughter'd foes.
Nor drew great Saul his sword in vain;
It reek'd, where'er he dealt his blows,
With entrails of the mighty slain.

30. Chorus of Israelites
Eagles were not so swift as they,
Nor lions with so strong a grasp
Held fast and tore the prey.

31. Air, Michal
In sweetest harmony they lived,
Nor death their union could divide.
The pious son ne'er left the father's side,
But him defending bravely died:
A loss too great to be survived!
For Saul, ye maids of Israel, moan,
To whose indulgent care
You owe the scarlet and the gold you wear,
And all the pomp in which your beauty long has shone.

32. Solo and Chorus

O fatal day! How low the mighty lie!

David and Israelites
O Jonathan! How nobly didst thou die,
For thy king and people slain.

For thee, my brother Jonathan,
How great is my distress!
What language can my grief express?
Great was the pleasure I enjoy'd in thee,
And more than woman's love thy wondrous love to me!

David and Israelites
O fatal day! How low the mighty lie!
Where, Israel, is thy glory fled?
Spoil'd of thy arms, and sunk in infamy,
How canst thou raise again thy drooping head!

33. Recitative, High Priest
Ye men of Judah, weep no more!
Let gladness reign in all our host;
For pious David will restore
What Saul by disobedience lost.
The Lord of hosts is David's friend,
And conquest will his arms attend.

34. Chorus of Israelites
Gird on thy sword, thou man of might,
Pursue thy wonted fame:
Go on, be prosperous in fight,
Retrieve the Hebrew name!
Thy strong right hand, with terror armed,
Shall thy obdurate foes dismay;
While others, by thy virtue charm'd,
Shall crowd to own thy righteous sway.

CD 2

1. Rezitativ, Jonathan
Mein Vater kommt: hinweg, o Freund, dieweil
mein sanftes Wort in ihm beschwört die Wuth.
David verlässt die Szene.

Scene III
Saul und Jonathan

2. Rezitativ

Ist mein Befehl vollzogen, und vertilgt,
mein bittrer Todfeind, der Sohn Isais?

Ach weh, mein Vater! Er dein Todfeind?
Der Edle, der da Ruhm und Rettung brachte,
so dir wie deinem Volke, der für uns
dem Tod sich bot und schlug den Riesenfeind,
vor dem in Furcht die Tapfersten verzagten.

Arie, Jonathan
O frevle an dem Jüngling nicht,
der keinen Harm dir sann,
der sich des Dankes heilge Pflicht
durch seine Tat gewann.
Denk an den Tag,
da du durchbrachst mit ihm der Feinde Reihn:
und dann gebeut, wenn du's vermagst,
dem Tode ihn zu weihn.

3. Arie, Saul
So wahr Jehova lebt, ich schwör:
den Jüngling trifft kein Leid;
er kehr zurück, von Furcht befreit,
dem Thron zu Ehr und Wehr.

4. Arie, Jonathan
Wer Städte bricht und Heere schlägt,
ihm lohnet Ruhm und Rang:
der Ehren höchste Krone trägt,
wer stets sich selbst bezwang.
Der ragt vor allen groß und gut,
der dämpft in stark gefaßtem Mut
den Wahnsinn seiner blinden Wut.

Scene IV

5. Rezitativ

Erscheine, Freund!

David betritt die Szene.

Befürchte nicht Gefahr mehr:
sei du mein nächster Freund; mit tapfrem Mute
wirf nun wie sonst der Feinde Schar zurück;
und zum Beweis, wie ich dir wohlgesinnt, -
o schwere Kunst des Truges! - augenblicks
vermähle dich mit Michal.

Arie, David
Dein Wort, o Herr, beseelt mich neu
mit kühnem Wort zur Schlacht:
Steht Gottes Kraft wie sonst mir bei,
so stürz ich hin des Feindes Macht.
Im heißen Kampf, im Schlachtgefield
ist Gott Jehova stets mein Schild.
David und Jonathan verlassen die Szene.

6. Rezitativ, Saul
Ja, Michal sei die seine! Doch wie lang
täuscht dieses Glück ihn? - Heergebieter sei er!
Doch schwänge der Philister Hand kein Schwert,
das Davids Brust durchbohre? - Ja, sie sollen
an dem Frevler rächen meine Schmach.

Scene V
David und Michal

7. Rezitativ, Michal
Des Vaters Wort gewährt des Herzens Wunsch:
nicht länger, Michal, hehle denn die Glut,
David, die stille Glut der Brust. - Für dich, o David,
schlug dieses Herz seit jenem großen Tag,
da du dies Volk befreit.


Du, den der Kranz der Jugend krönt,
doch mehr der Tugend Glanz verschönt!
Den Rat der Weisen gibt dein Mund,
dein Arm die Kraft des Helden kund.

O lieblich Kind, wie hold dein Bild
durch Anmut jedes Aug entzückt!
Noch mehr entzückt, was es verhüllt,
das Herz, das lautre Unschuld schmückt.

Wie wird nun freundlich vom Geschick
verwandelt all mein Leid in Glück.
Beide verlassen die Szene.

8. Chor
Heil sei dem Mann, der treu und stet
auf Gottes Weg unsträflich geht!
Umsonst ist seiner Feinde Drohn:
die Macht des Herrn lähmt ihren Mut,
sie löst in Liebe ihren Hohn
und stillt zu Sanftmut ihre Wut.

9. Sinfonie

Scene VI
David und Michal

10. Rezitativ, David
Dein Vater ist so grausam und so falsch,
wie du voll Lieb und Treu. Als ich ihm nahte,
grad aus dem Schlachtgetümmel zurückgekehrt,
entflammt sein Aug in Wut: den straffen Arm
hebt er im Zorne, und es saust sein Speer,
mein Haupt umzischend, hin, fliegt in die Wand
und höhnet dort der Ohnmacht seiner Bosheit.


Sein Ingrimm reizt mich nur zu Hohn,
zu Trotz mich all sein Drohn;
denn mich deckt Gottes Schild,
mich schirmet Michals Bild.

Ach, teurer Freund, ich beb um dich!
Flieh von hier, wo Tod dir droht!

Beb', o Teure, nicht um mich:
denn wo du bist, droht mir kein Tod;
lächle, und er weicht von dir!

Flieh, denn Tod ist vor der Tür!
Sieh die Mörderbande, sieh!
Flieh von hinnen, flieh, o flieh!

Scene VII
Michal und Doeg

11. Rezitativ

Wen suchst du hier?
Von wem kommst du gesendet?

Ich suche David und mich sendet Saul.

Dein Auftrag?

Hin zum König ruft er ihn.

Sag, er sei krank.

Ob er nun ganz oder heil,
ob krank, ob tot, er muß mit mir zu Saul;
zeig sein Gemach mir.
Davids Bett aufgedeckt, mit einem Bild darin.
Willst du den König betrügen?
So reizt die Täuschung stärker seinen Grimm:
drum bebe vor dem Ausgang.
Sie verlassen die Szene.

Arie, Michal
Nein, nein laß den Frevler beben,
vor Schrecken bleich sein Angesicht.
Ob zahllos Feinde mich umgeben,
mein schuldlos Herz verzaget nicht.
Wie frech ihr Trotz auch höhnt und lacht,
steht unerschüttert mir mein Sinn:
denn größer ist Jehovas Macht,
er wirft Gewalt und Trotz dahin.

Scene VIII

12. Rezitativ, Merab
Arm wie er war, er ist mein Bruder nun,
der Schwester Gatte, - ach, und es ist wahr,
ein Heldenherz, das Liebe sich erzwingt
und Mitleid von uns heischt. Des Vaters Grausamkeit
füllt mich mit Schrecken! Bei dem nahen Fest
fürcht ich Gefahr für ihn, wenn nicht mein Bruder,
sein Freund, der treue Jonathan, Verderb
und Unheil abwehrt, ich weiß, er wagt sein Blut.

13. Arie, Merab
Vater des Friedens, der tröstend mild
jeden Sturm der Seele stillt,
aus dessen Geist sich das Wort ergießt,
das so süß wie Honig fließt:
in seinem Munde sei dein Geist bezeugt,
dass grause Wut der sanften Rede weicht.

Scene IX
Saul auf dem Neumond-Fest.

14. Sinfonie

15. Accompagnato, Saul
Die Zeit ist endlich da: Isais Sohn fällt
heut zum Opfer meinem Groll.
Nicht länger vor dem Knaben
soll der König zittern auf dem Thron.
Er stirbt, der Ruh und Ruhm mir kürzt,
eh er aus Macht, eh er vom Thron micht stürzt!

Scene X
Saul und Jonathan.

16. Rezitativ

Wo ist der Sohn Isais? kommt er nicht
zu unserm Fest?

Nach Bethlem trieb's ihn fort,
in seine Heimat, in des Vaters Haus,
wo seines Stammes jährlich Opferfest
sein Beisein heischte.

Mach dich fort, Verräter!
Du wähnst, ich wisse nicht, dass du der Freund
des Sohns Isais, selbst dir zum Verderben!
Die Welt erkennt, dass du mein Sohn nicht bist,
der du des Vaters Feind erwählt, den Mann,
der, wenn er lebt, der Krone dich beraubt:
eil, ihn zu rufen, den sein Los ist Tod.

Was hat er getan? Warum muß er sterben?

Du trotzest meinem Wort? Stirb denn du selbst.
Er wirft den Speer.

Jonathan geht, nach ihm Saul.

17. Chor
O blinde Raserei der Wut,
durch Weisheit nicht beschränkt!
Ein jedes Band reißt sie entzwei,
kein Zaum, der die Unbändge lenkt:
auf Schuld häuft Schuld sie sinnlos auf,
und stürmt zum Untergang in ihrem Lauf.


Scene I
Saul verkleidet zu Endor

18. Accompagnato, Saul
Elend und Qual hab ich mir selbst bereitet!
Wo ist mein Retter nun? Den tapfern Mann,
dess Nam allein der Feinde Schrecken war,
verbannte meine Wut. Von Gott verlassen,
ruf ich umsonst um Hilfe! Er gewährt
nicht Antwort einem Sohn des Ungehorsams.
Mein eigner Mut verlässt mich! Kann es sein?
Ward Saul zu einer Memme? Nein, das sei ferne!
Wenn der Himmel nicht hilft, sei es die Hölle!

19. Accompagnato, Saul
Man sagt, hier leb ein Weib, die Vertraute
des Fürsten der untern Welt: sie gebe Rat
und Kunde mir. Auf ihre Kunst steht der Tod;
und weil des Rechts ich pflog, traf sichre Strafe
ihr schwarzes Zauberwerk: Doch, hartes Los,
ich selbst bin nun verdammt, sie zu befragen,
die ich zuvor verflucht.

Scene II
Saul und die Hexe von Endor

20. Rezitativ

Sag an, was willst du?

Ruf aus der Tiefe mir den Mann herauf,
den dir mein Mund benennt.

Weh dir! Du weißt,
das Sauls Gebot vertilgt der Zaubrer Kunst.
Stellst du mir Netze?

Bei Jehovas Nam!
Von seiner Hand soll dich kein Unheil treffen.

Sprich, wen begehrst du zu sehn?

Rufe Samuel.

21. Arie, Hexe von Endor
Geister des Abgrunds, deren Macht
der Toten Schatten in der Gruft belebt,
und schaurig in dem Graun der Nacht
mit Angst das kühnste Herz durchbebt:
vor des Fremdlings starren Blick
sendet Samuels Geist zurück!

Scene III
Der Geist Samuels und Saul

22. Accompagnato

Warum beschwörst du aus dem Reich der Ruh
mich in die Welt der Qual?

O heilger Seher!
Versage mir nicht Rat in meiner Not!
Der Feinde Heer steht schlachtgerüstet vor mir;
Gott aber wich von mir; mir spricht kein Seher,
kein Traum weissaget mir; kein Trost mehr bleibt,
wenn nicht dein weiser Mund mir Rat gewährt.

Verließ Jehova dich? Und rufst du mich
um Hilfe? Sagt ich nicht dein Los voraus,
als du nicht ausgerichtet seinen Zorn
am Volke Amalek, und auf den Raub
dich gierig wandtest? Darum hat der Herr
an dir bewährt mein Wort zu deinem Unheil,
die Krone dir entzogen und verliehen an David,
dem du zürnst um seiner Tugend.
Du und dein Sohn, ihr seid bei mir noch heute,
wenn Israel der Philister Arm erlag.
So sprach Jehova, Er, der Wahrheit Gott.

23. Sinfonie

Scene IV
David und Amalekite.

24. Rezitativ

Wo kommst du her?

Dort aus dem Lager Israels.

So sage rasch mir an, wie steht die Schlacht?

Das Heer ergreift die Flucht, viel Volkes fiel,
und Saul und Jonathan, sein Sohn, sind tot.

O weh! Mein Bruder! Doch wie weißt du
um ihren Tod?

Am Berge Gilboa
stieß ich auf Saul, durchbohrt vom eignen Speer;
stürmisch verfolgt der Feind; er schrie zu mir,
bat mich, sein unvollbrachtes Werk zu enden,
zu tilgen seine Schmach und Freveltat.
Ich sah sein Leben schwinden und erschlug ihn,
nahm ihm vom Haupt den Reif, von seinem Arm
die Ringe, die ich reiche meinem Herrn.

Wer bist du?

Ich bin vom Stamm Amalek.

25. Arie, David
Mann der Schmach, im Stamm verflucht!
Mehr du als dein Stamm verrucht!
Erstarrte nicht die Hand am Schwert,
eh sie sein heilig Haupt versehrt?
(Zu einem seiner Begleiter, der Amalekite tötet.)
Ergreift ihn, fällt ihn auf den Grund!
Auf seinem Haupt sei Blut und Fluch; g
ezeugt hat wider dich dein Mund,
dess Hand den Gottgesalbten schlug.

26. Sinfonie: Totenmarsch

Scene V
Klage über Sauls und Jonathans Tod.

27. Chor
Klag, Israel, deiner Helden Fall,
der Jugend Schmuck des Todes Raub!
Wie welkten deine Blüten all!
Ein Heer von mächtgen Kriegern liegt im Staub!

28. Arie, Merab
Nach diesem Tag der Schmach
tränk dich nicht mehr, Gilboas Berg und Au,
des Regens kühle Flut, noch milder Tau,
der einst dein Haupt gekrönt mit Pracht:
seit dort der Schild des Saul in heißer Schlacht
so schmachvoll sank und brach.

29. Arie, David
Wenn Jonathan den Bogen zog, ha,
wie beschwingt mit Tod sein Pfeil
entflog und trank das Blut aus Feindesbrust!
Schwang Saul sein Schwert in Kampfeslust,
wie dampft von mächtger Helden Blut
und schlürft der Grund die dunkle Flut!

30. Chor der Israeliten
Nie war der Adler rasch wie sie;
der Löwe mit so wilder Gier ergriff,
zerriß den Raub, die Beute nie.

31. Arie, Michal
In süßer Harmonie vereint, bewährt' im Tod
ihr Bund der Treue Pflicht, der fromme Sohn
verließ den Vater nicht, ihn zu erretten
fiel der tapfre Freund: o Fall,
niemals zu tief beweint!
Um Saul, ihr Töchter Israels, klagt!
Durch dessen Siegerhand ihr reich
in Purpur und in Gold euch tragt
und prachtumstrahlet stolz in hoher Schönheit ragt.

32. Solo und Chor

Chor der Israeliten
O schwerer Tag! Gestürzt die Helden all!

David und der Chor der Israeliten
O Jonathan! Wie edel war dein Fall,
für den König, für das Land!

Um dich, mein Bruder Jonathan,
wie klagt mein zagend Herz!
Ach, keine Sprach umfasst den Schmerz!
Groß war die Wonne, die mir ward von dir,
und mehr als Frauenlieb war deine Liebe mir!

David und Chor der Israeliten
O schwerer Tag! Gestürzt die Helden all!
Wie Israel, kam dein Ruhm zu Fall!
Schmachvoll besiegt, des Waffenschmucks beraubt,
wie hebst du je empor dein sinkend Haupt!

33. Rezitativ, Hoher Priester
Ihr Männer Juda, klagt nicht mehr!
Faßt freudig Mut in allem Heer;
denn David hebt den Thron empor,
den Saul durch Missetat verlor.
Dem Gott der Schlacht ist David wert,
er kränzt mit Sieg des Helden Schwert.

34. Chor der Israeliten
Gürt um dein Schwert, du Mann der Schlacht,
voran zu kühnem Streit!
Wohlauf, der Sieg ist dir bereit!
Richt auf Judäas Macht!
Dein starker Arm, mit Kraft gestählt,
macht stolzer Feinde Wangen bleich,
dieweil dein Volk, das dich erwählt
sich drängt, zu schaun dein neues Reich.