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Authentic Concert Recorsing

George Frideric Handel
Oratorio in three acts
An historically accurate performance
in English

Michael Chance
altus ~ Solomon
Nancy Argenta
soprano ~ Solomon´s Queen, First Harlot
Laurie Reviol
soprano ~ Queen of Sheba, Second Harlot
Julian Podger
tenor ~ Zadok
Steffen Balbach
bass ~ Levite

Hannoversche Hofkapelle (on period instruments)
Maulbronn Chamber Choir
Conductor: Juergen Budday

A concert recording from the minster
at abbey Maulbronn, Sept. 27th & Sept. 28th, 2003

2 CD-Box, DDD, KuK 73,
ISBN 3-930643-73-1, EAN 42 6000591 026 1
Copyright by K&K Verlagsanstalt anno 2004

Performance & Opus

This recording is part of a cycle of old testament oratorios by G. F. Handel and is one of the many concerts performed at Maulbronn monastery over the past years. The series combines authentically performed baroque oratorios 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 authentic performance. The music is exclusively performed on reconstructed historical instruments, which are tuned to the pitch customary in the composers lifetime (a = c. 415 Hz). The two four-voice choirs are placed separately, allowing the listener to experience the complexity of the choir parts with more transparency making the unique stereophony of this work more concrete.

In the summer months of 1748 Handel composed the two oratorios Solomon and Susanna for the ensuing season. He started on Solomon on 5th May 1748 and terminated the score on 13th June 1748 with the devotion S.(Soli) D.(Deo) G.(Gloria). The work is considered a link to Handel's later oratorios. His earlier oratorios are coloured with political affairs and allusions, as in his famous oratorio Judas Maccabaeus, inspired by the Scottish rebellion of 1745. Solomon depicts a wise and god-fearing ruler, with Solomon's court presenting the image of an ideal society. The central theme of the libretto has its origin in narratives from the Old Testament: the Book of Kings (1st Kings 1-11) and the Chronicles (2nd Chr. 1-9), among others. Despite this, one ascribes this oratorio not only aspects of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but also a pantheistic world view, in which God is to be found in all aspects of life. The different qualities of King Solomon are demonstrated and celebrated in the various acts of the oratorio. It is often suggested that Handel wished to extol the golden age of England and its ruler, George II who had granted him English nationality. Handel praised the glory of England and its monarchs with this oratorio by equating them with Israel and King Solomon. He used a, for that time, very large orchestra and was able to use the unparalleled expressive possibilities in his depiction of "pomp and circumstance". The oratorio is not distinguished with a dramatic plot, but rather contains juxtaposed pictures and scenes. The ensuing static impression that emerges is balanced by the richness of colour in the individual tableaus. The different scenes and events allow Handel to use his whole palette of compositoric expression. Differentiated instrumentation, large choral pieces, soloistic elements and sensitive musical character studies demonstrate Handels great artistic ability. With two choirs and seven eight-voice choir parts he exhausts all at that time existing composition possibilities. By casting Solomon with a countertenor he uses opera's tradition of elevating heroes abounding with nearly supernatural strength and wisdom into the superhuman by using feminine voices.

In the first act, Solomon appears as a God-fearing King, celebrating the finishing of the temple in Jerusalem with his people, following which we see the love to his wife, his generosity, his gentleness and fidelity. Powerful, jubilant choirs bear witness to the court's splendour and glory. The passage in the text "till distant nations catch the song" from the choirs' With pious heart is composed very vividly by Handel. The numerous fugal entries mirror the different nations that spread God's message. The act ends with the royal couple's retreat into the bedchamber accompanied by a soft background choir. Nightingales (flutes) and warm breezes (deep rustling of the violins and violas) enhance the twilight atmosphere.

In the second act, the famous story of Solomon's wise judgment is told. A servant brings the petition of two dissenting women who are seeking the King's judgment. It is revealed that both women have given birth to a son. It is asserted that one of the sons died in the night and the mother swapped her dead son with the other woman's child. Both now claim to be the true mother and denote the other a liar. In this difficult situation, Solomon uses a clever ruse. He proclaims the child should be cut in two and each woman should be given one half. While one of the women consents, the other woman desperately asks him to spare her innocent child. She would rather let the other woman have him than to see him die. Thus Solomon recognizes in her sorrow and despair the true love of a mother and returns the child to her. The musical high points in this act are primarily the portrayals of the main figures, with distinctive motifs being assigned to each individual. Hard, syncopated rhythms characterize the envy, the inner turbulence and the wickedness of the childless woman, whereas the other woman, seeing her child in great danger, is accompanied by dotted figures in the bass line, which form the basic atmosphere of gnawing fear. Dissonant suspensions and modulations increase this fearful tension, until the difficult decision "take him all" leads to a resolution in major with a simultaneous, descending, mournful bass line. The characters join Solomon to form a musically masterful trio. Handel is able to elaborate and illuminate their characteristics in an unparalleled way.

With the arrival of the Queen of Sheba, the final act of the oratorio demonstrates Solomon's "foreign policy" ability. Choir pieces expressing the most diverse human emotions are performed for her entertainment, allowing Handel to demonstrate his full range of composing skills. Possibly Handel deliberately wished to incorporate the four tempers in these chorals for the Queen of Sheba: sanguine Music, spread thy voice around, choleric Shake the dome, melancholic Draw the tear from hopeless love and phlegmatic Thus rolling surges rise... and all is calm again. In the choral Shake the dome, the two choirs confront each other like two armies in battle and are further roused by the extreme dotted rhythms of the strings. The audience experiences the choirs from the standpoint of the Queen of Sheba and is thus drawn into the happenings in a way analogous to the Greek dramas. The Queen of Sheba shows herself to be impressed with the choirs' tonal versatility and Solomon's court. The following choral, Praise the Lord with harp and tongue, exalting not only God but also and above all Solomon, is one of Handel's most magnificent works for two choirs and is thus sometimes used as the final chorale. Here, however, there follows the farewells of the two rulers and the oratorio finishes with the moral essence, "The name of the wicked shall quickly be past; but the fame of the just shall eternally last".

The libretto of Handel´s oratorio Solomon in English
(German translation included):
~ as website ~
as pdf-file (13 pages) for printing ~


Michael Chance - Countertenor (Solomon) Michael Chance - Countertenor (Daniel)
Michael Chance's carrier began, as did so many of his colleagues, in King's College, Cambridge, as male alto in England's conceivably most famous choir. Today he is one of the world's most sought after countertenors not only for opera but also for oratorios and songs and 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 are the song evenings he gives with the Gamben-Consort Fretwork, Nigel North und Roger Vignoles, in which he sings pieces for voice and lute from mainly english composers of the Renaissance and present day.

Nancy Argenta - Soprano (Solomon´s Queen, First Harlot)
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 (Queen of Sheba, Second Harlot)
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.

Julian Podger - Tenor (Zadok)
In 1987 he received a choral scholarship to study music at Trinity College, Cambridge. Today, Julian Podger is a much asked for oratorio soloist. He has recorded the arias of Bach's St. John Passion with the Scholars Baroque Ensemble and regularly performs as Evangelist. He has appeared regularly as a soloist for Paul McCreesh, Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner and with Musica Antiqua Köln under Reinhard Goebel. He is also a member of one of the word's leading medieval ensembles, Gothic Voices, under Christopher Page, and a regular member of the Gabrieli Consort, London Baroque, the Tallis Scholars and the Harp Consort.

Steffen Balbach - Bass (Levite)
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.

Hannoversche Hofkapelle
The Hannoversche Hofkapelle 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 Hannoversche Hofkapelle not only incorporates Baroque music in all its forms, but also Romantic pieces and Classical works, especially Mozart's operas. The continual involvement with the music of the 17th and 18th century has allowed each of the Hofkapelle's musicians to become a master of his instrument. From this emerges the expressive and elegant playing that allows the Hannoversche Hofkapelle to secure its position.

Maulbronn Chamber Choir
The Maulbronn Chamber Choir was founded by its director Jürgen Budday in 1983 and is one of the best choirs in Germany today. 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 Wuerttemberg 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 Festive Days of Clerical Music in Rottenburg, and the European Music Fest 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 at 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
is director of church music and artistic director of the concert series at the monastery of Maulbronn, of the cantor choir and of the Maulbronn Chamber Choir. He studied music pedagogy, church music and musicology at the academy of music in Stuttgart and since 1979, has taught at the Evangelisch-theologisches Seminar in Maulbronn. For his teaching and artistic activity he has received the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande and the Bruno-Frey-Preis of the Landesakademie Ochsenhausen. Since 2002, Jürgen Budday has also held the chair of the choral committee of the Deutscher Musikrat. Several concert recordings have been made under his artistic direction that have received international recognition and high praise from critics. These have included the Handel oratorios Jephtha, Samson, Judas Maccabaeus and Saul with Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance, Nancy Argenta and Stephen Varcoe.


Nancy Argenta ~ soprano (Queen, First Harlot)
Laurie Reviol ~ soprano (Queen of Sheba, Second Harlot)
Michael Chance ~ altus (Solomon)
Julian Podger ~ tenor (Zadok)
Steffen Balbach ~ bass (Levite)

Hannoversche Hofkapelle

Marleen Goede-Uter
Christoph Heldemann, Katharina Huche, Stephanie Bücker,
Heidrun Heidarsdottir, Susanne Dietz, Eva Politt,
Birgit Fischer, Mechthild Werner
Bettina Ihrig, Hella Hartmann, Florian Schulte, Klaus Bona
Dorothee Palm, Daniela Wartenberg
Cordula Cordes, Irmelin Heiseke
Joachim Klingenfuß
Margret Schaal-van Buren, Roman Namakonov
Annette Berryman, Ulrike Neukamm
Alexander Golde, Hans von Busch
Friedemann Immer, Christoph Draeger
Thomas Crome, Malte Mory
Marten van der Valk
Organ & Cembalo
Sabine Erdmann

Maulbronn Chamber Choir · Choir I

Soprano I
Elisabeth Hofmann-Ehret, Veronika Miehlich, Ina Probst,
Susanne Ferber, Sabine Widmann, Anne Nonnenmann,
Sylvia Dieter, Katja Körtge

Alto I
Mirjam Budday, Angelika Stössel, Roswitha Fydrich-Steiner,
Beate Roth, Marianne Dohse, Carmen Andruschkewitsch

Tenor I
Johannes Budday, Sebastian Fuierer, Hartmut Meier

Bass I
Karl Bihlmaier, Benjamin Schneider, Jo Dohse,
Werner Pfeiffer, Eberhard Maier

Maulbronn Chamber Choir · Choir II

Soprano II
Ilka Hüftle, Sabine Stöffler, Susanne Laenger, Silke Vogelmann,
Teresa Frick, Katharina Eberhardt, Ulrike Rapp, Miriam Wolff

Alto II
Margret Sanwald, Hella Pilz, Beata Fechau, Kathrin Gölz,
Bettina van der Ham, Sabine Jurgan, Rebekka Eberhardt

Tenor II
Konrad Mohl, Rolf-Rüdiger Most, Ulrich Kiefner, Rudolf Roth

Bass II
Daniel Fritsch, Paul-Theodor Bräuchle, Burkhard Miehlich,
Frieder Weckermann, Hans-Martin Uhde

Jürgen Budday

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Act I

Scene I
Solomon, Zadok, Priests and Israelites

Your harps and cymbals sound
To great Jehovah's praise;
Unto the Lord of Hosts
Your willing voices raise.

Praise ye the Lord for all his mercies past,
Whose truth, whose justice will for ever last.

With pious heart, and holy tongue,
Resound your Maker's name,
Till distant nations catch the song,
And glow with holy flame.

Almighty pow'r!
who rul'st the earth and skies,
And bade gay order from confusion rise;
Whose gracious hand reliev'd Thy slave distress'd,
With splendour cloath'd him,
and with knowledge bless'd;
Thy finish'd Temple with Thy presence grace,
And shed Thy heav'nly glories o'er the place.

Imperial Solomon, thy pray'rs are heard.
See!from the op'ning skies
Descending flames involve the sacrifice;
And lo! within the sacred dome
That gleamy light,
Profusely bright,
Declares the Lord of Hosts is come.
Sacred raptures cheer my breast,
Rushing tides of hallow'd zeal,
Joys too fierce to be express'd,
In this swelling heart I feel.
Warm enthusiastic fires
In my panting bosom roll,
Hope of bliss, that ne'er expires,
Dawns upon my ravish'd soul.
Sacred raptures cheer my breast,
Rushing tides of hallow'd zeal,
Joys too fierce to be express'd,
In this swelling heart I feel.

Throughout the land Jehovah's praise record,
For full of pow'r and mercy is the Lord.

Bless'd be the Lord, who look'd with gracious eyes
Upon his vassals' humble sacrifice,
And has with an approving smile
My work o'erpaid, and grac'd the pile.
What though I trace each herb and flow'r,
That drink the morning dew,
Did I not own Jehovah's pow'r,
How vain were all I knew!
Say what's the rest but empty boast,
The pedant's idle claim,
Who having all the substance lost
Attempts to grasp a name?
What though: (da capo)

Scene II
To them the queen

And see my Queen , my wedded love,
You soon my tenderness shall prove;
A palace shall erect its head,
Of cedar built, with gold bespread;
Me thinks the work is now begun,
The ax resounds on Lebanon,
And see, bedeck'd with canvas wings,
The dancing vessel lightly springs,
While Ophir's mines, well-pleas'd, disclose
The wealth that in their entrails glows.

Bless'd the day when first my eyes
Saw the wisest of the wise!
Bless'd the day when I was led
To ascend the nuptial bed!
But completely bless'd the day,
On my bosom as he lay,
When he call'd my charms divine,
Vowing to be only mine.
Bless'd the day: (da capo)

Thou fair inhabitant of Nile,
Rejoice thy lover with a smile!

Oh monarch! with each virtue bless'd,
The brightest star that gilds the east;
No joy I know beneath the sun,
But what`s compris'd in Solomon.
With thee, how quickly fled the winter's night,
And short is summer's length of light.


Welcome as the dawn of day
To the pilgrim on his way,
Whom the darkness caus'd to stay,
is my lovely king to me.

Myrtle grove, or rosy shade,
Breathing odours through the glade
To refresh the village maid,
Yields in sweets, my queen, to theee

When thou art absent from my sight,
The court I shun, and loathe the light.
With thee th'unshelter'd moor I'd tread,
Nor once of fate complain;
Though burning suns flash'd round my head,
and cleav'd he barren plain.
Thy lovely from alone I prize,
'Tis thou that canst impart
Continual pleasure to my eyes,
And gladness to my heart.

Search round the word, there never yet was seen
So wise a monarch, or so chase a queen.

May no rash intruder disturb their soft hours;
To form fragrant pillows, arise, oh ye flow'rs!
Ye zephirs, soft-breathing, their slumbers prolong,
While nightingales lull them to sleep with their song.

Scene I
Salomo, Zadok, Priester und Israeliten

Mit Harf' und Cymbeln singt
Zu Gott Jehovah`s Preis;
Auf zu dem Himmelskreis
Die laute Stimme schwingt.

O preist des Herren Allbarmherzigkeit,
Dass Huld, dass Güte währt durch alle Zeit.

Aus frommer Brust, in heil'gem Drang
Singt laut des Schöpfers Macht,
Dass alles Volk auflauscht dem Sang,
Zu heil'ger Glut entfacht

Allmächt'ge Kraft,
die Höh' und Tief' umspannt,
In weise Ordnung einst das Chaos band,
Die gnädig segnend ihren Knecht beglückt,
Geziert mit Weisheit
und mit Glanz geschmückt:
Komm' in dein heilig, dir erhöh'tes Haus,
Und schütte Segen auf die Stätte aus.

Erhab'ner Salomo! du bist erhört.
Sieh', aus den Wolken fährt
Der Flammen Glut und deckt den Opferherd;
Und sieh, in`s Heiligthum , sieh da!
Hell strahlend bricht
Ein himmlisch Licht,
Verkündend: der Herr der Welt ist nah.
Himmelswonne hebt die Brust:
Fromme Glut und heil'ger Drang,
Glück, zu reich für Wort und Sang,
Füllt mein schwellend Herz mit Lust.
Heissbegeistert Feuer glüht
Mir im Busen, froh durchbebt,
Segensheil, das ewig lebt,
Strahlt in mein entzückt Gemüth.
Himmelswonne hebt die Brust:
Fromme Glut und heil'ger Drang,
Glück, zu reich für Wort und Sang,
Füllt mein schwellend Herz mit Lust

Preist All' im Land Jehovah, nah und fern,
Denn gross ist Macht und Gnade unsers Herrn.

Dank dir ,o Herr! der gnädig du erschienst
Zu deines Knechts bescheid'nem Opferdienst;
Der du mit deines Segens Strom
Mein Werk gekrönt, geweiht den Dom.
Erforscht' ich gleich jed' Gras und Blum',
Die hold im Thauschmuck lacht,
Und kennte nicht Jehovah's Macht,
Wie eitel wär' mein Ruhm!
Was blieb mir als leerer Tand,
Des Thoren Scheingewinn,
Der nie der Dinge Geist und Sinn,
Nur Nam' und Ort gekannt
Erforscht' ich gleich: (da capo)

Scene II
Zu ihnen die Königin

Seht da, mein Weib, mein Trost und Stolz!
Dich soll mein nächstes Werk erhöh'n;
Ein Prachtbau soll von Cedernholz,
Mit Gold geziert, für dich entstehen.
Das Werk begann mit Eifer schon:
Die Axt erschallt im Libanon,
Und sieh, wie rasch und leicht geschwingt
Das flinke Schiff zum Hafen dringt,
Dem Ophir's Mine willig zollt
Den Schatz von Edelstein und Gold.

Heil dem Tag, da ich geschaut
Ihn, der Weisheit glänzend Bild!
Heil dem Tag, da ich verhüllt
Ihm genaht im Schmuck der Braut!
Aber zwiefach Heil dem Tag,
Da er mit am Busen lag,
Meine Reize göttlich fand
Und sich ewig mir verband
Heil dem Tag: (da capo)

Wie süss, du Fürstenkind vom Nil,
ist deiner Blicke lieblich Spiel!

Gebieter! aller Tugend reich,
Dem hellsten Stern im Osten gleich!
Kein Glück der Erde macht mich froh,
Als das mir ward in Salomo.
Mit dir, wie schnell verfliegt des Winters Nacht,
Wie rasch des Sommertages Pracht.


Lieblich, wie des Tages Pracht
Einen Wandrer in der Nacht
Auf verlor'nem Pfade lacht,
Leuchtest du, o König, mir.

Myrthenbüt' und Rosenhein,
Dufthauch athmend bei dem Rain,
Hirt' und Hirtin zu erfreu'n,
Weicht , lieb Herz , an Süsse dir.

Ist fern von mir dein Angesicht,
Hass' ich den Tag und flieh' das Licht.
Mit der durch Moor, durch Wüstensand,
Hinwandr' ich obdachlos,
Das Haupt umglüht vom Sonnenbrand,
Verdorrt der Erde Schoos:
Dein treuer Arm hält mich in Hut,
Du bist mein Schirm und Schild,
Des Anblick mir das Herz mit Mut,
Mit Kraft die Brust erfüllt.

Durchforscht die Welt: nie ward zuvor gesehn
Solch treues Bündnis, solch edles Paar.

Nie trüb' euch ein Unhold den Frieden der Nacht!
Schwellt dufend ihr Lager, o Blumen voll Pracht,
Umweht sie , Zyphyre, mit lindem Umfang,
Ihr Nachtigallen lullt sie in Schlummer mit Sang.

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Act II

Scene I
Solomon, Zadok, Levites and Israelites

From the censer curling rise
Grateful incense to the skies;
Heaven blesses David's throne,
Happy, happy Solomon!
Live, live for ever, pious David's son;
Live, live for ever, mighty Solomon.

Prais'd be the Lord,
from Him my wisdom springs;
I bow in-raptur'd to the King of Kings.
He led me, abject, to th'imperial state,
When weak, and trembling for my future fate;
Strengthen'd by Him, each foe with horror fled,
Then impious Joab at the altar bled;
The death he oft deserv'd stern Shimei found,
And Adonijah sunk beneath the wound;
Forc'd by his crimes, I spoke a brother's doom, Ah may his vices perish in his tomb!
When the sun o'er yonder hills
Pours in tides the golden day,
Or, when quiv'ring o'er the rills,
In the west he dies away;
He shall ever hear me sing
Praises to th'eternal King.

Scene II
Solomon, Levite and Israelites
to them an Attendant

My sovereign liege, two women stand,
And both beseech the king's command
To enter here. Dissolv'd in tears
the one a new-born infant bears;
The other, fierce, and threat'ning loud,
Declares her story to the crowd;
And thus she clamours to the throng,
"Seek we the king, he shall redress our wrong."

Admit them straight; for when we mount the throne,
Our hours are all the people's , not our own.

Scene III
To them the two harlots

First harlot
Thou Son of David, hear a mother's grief;
And let the voice of justice bring relief.
This little babe my womb conceiv'd,
The smiling infant I with joy receiv'd.
That woman also bore a son,
Whose vital thread was quickly spun:
One house we both together kept;
But once, unhappy, as I slept,
She stole at midnight where I lay ,
Bore my soft darling from my arms away,
And left her child behind, a lump of lifeless clay:
And now , oh impious! dares to claim
My right alone, a mother's name.


First harlot
Words are weak to paint my fears;
Heart-felt anguish, starting tears,
Bet shall plead a mother's cause,
To thy throne, oh king, I bend,
My cause ist just, be thou my friend.

Second harlot
False is all her melting tale.

Justice holds the lifted scale.

Second harolot
Then be just, and fear the laws.

First harlot
Words are weak to paint my fears;
Heart-felt anguish, starting tears,
Best shall plead a mother's cause.
To thy throne, oh king, I bend,
My cause is just, be thou my friend.

What says the other to th'imputed charge?
Speak in thy turn, and tell thy wrongs at large.

Second harlot
I cannot varnish o'er my tongue,
And colour fair the face of wrong.
This babe is mine, the womb of earth
Intom'd, conceals her little birth.
Give me my child, my smiling boy,
To cheer my breast with new-born joy

Hear me, ye women, and the king regard,
Who from his throne thus reads the just award:
Each claim alike, let both their portions share;
Divide the babe, thus each her part shall bear.
Quick, bring the faulchion, and the infant smite,
Nor further clamour for disputed right.

Second harlot
Thy sentence, great king,
Is prudent and wise,
And my hopes on the wring
Quick bound for the prize.
Contented I hear,
And approve the decree;
For at least I shall tear
The lov'd infant from thee.

First harlot
Withhold, withhold the executing hand!
Reverse, oh king, thy stern command.
Can I see my infant gor'd
With the fierce relentless sword?
Can I see him yield his breath,
Smiling at the hand of death?
And behold the purple tides
Gushing down his tender sides?
Rather be my hopes beguil'd,
Take him all - but spare my child.

Israel, attend to what your king shall say;
Think not I meant the innocent to slay.
The stern decision was to trace with art,
The secret dictates of the human heart.
She who could bear the fierce decree to hear,
Nor send one sigh, nor shed one pious tear,
Must be a stranger to a mother's name.
Hence from my sight, nor urge a further claim!
But you , whose fears a parent's love attest,
Receive, and bind him to your beating breast;
To you, in justice, I the babe restore,
And may you lose him from your arms no more.

First harlot
Thrice bless'd be the king,
for he's good and he's wise;

The Lord all these virtues has giv'n,

First harlot
My gratitude calls streaming tears from my eyes.

Thy thanks be return'd all to Heav'n.
‘Tis god that rewards, and will lift from the dust
Whom to crush proud oppressors endeavour;

First harlot
How happy are those who in God put their trust!

For his mercy endureth for ever.

From the east unto the west,
Who so wise as Solomon?
Who like Israel's king is bless'd,
Who so worthy of a throne?

From morn to eve I could enraptur'd sing
The various virtues of our happy king;
In whom , with wonder , we behold combin'd,
The grace of feature with the worth of mind.
See the tall palm that lifts the head
On Jordan's sedgy side,
His tow'ring branches curling spread,
And bloom in graceful pride.
Each meaner tree regardless springs,
Nor claims our scornful eyes;
Thus thou art first of mortal kings,
And wisest of the wise
See the tall palm: (da capo)

First harlot
No more shall armed bands our hopes destroy,
Peace waves her wing, and pours forth ev'ry joy.
Beneath the vine, or fig-tree's shade,
Ev'ry shepherd sings the maid,
Who his simple heart betray'd,
In a rustic measure.
While of torments he complains,
All around the village swains
Catch the song, and feel hes pains,
Mingling sighs with pleasure.
Beneath the vine: (da capo)

Swell, swell the full chorus to Solomon's praise,
Record him, ye bards, as the pride of our days.
Flows sweetly the numbers that dwell on his name,
And rouse the whole nation in songs to his fame.
Swell, swell the full chous: (da capo)

Scene I
Salomo, Zadok, Leviten und Israleliten.

Vom Altare wallend weh'n
Wolken Weihrauch zu den Höh'n:
Gottes Segen schirmt den Thron,
Selig, selig Salomo.
Heil, Heil für immer dir, o David's Sohn!
Heil für immer, mächt'ger Salomo.

Preis sei dem Herrn,
der Weisheit mir verlieh'n;
Ich beug' entzückt mich, vor ihm hin zu knie'n.
Er hob vom Staube mich zum Herrscherstand,
Als schwach und bang ich vor der Zukunft stand.
Zagend vor ihm , entfloh der Feinde Schaar,
Der wilde Joab fiel vor den Altar,
Der oft verdiente Tod ward Simei's Theil,
Und Adonai sank dem Todespfeil;
Ihn traf mein Spruch für frevelhaftes Thun:
Mag sein Verbrechen ewig mit ihm ruh'n!
Ob die Sonn' auf Berg und Thal
Hell ergiesst ihr goldnes Licht,
Ob ihr bleicher Abendstrahl
Fern im West ersterbend bricht:
Ewig hört sie, wie mein Sang
Singt dem Mächt'gen Preis und Dank

Scene II
Solomon, Leviten und Israeliten.
Zu ihnen ein Diener

Mein hoher Fürst! zwei Frauen stehn,
Die deine Gunst, o Herr, erfleh'n,
Sich dir zu nah'n. Verzehrt von Schmerz
Presst eine voll Angst ein Kind an's Herz.
Die andre, wild, im Redeschwall
Erklärt dem Volk den streit'gen Fall:
Sie ruft mit lautem Schrei'n und Droh'n:
"Auf, lasst uns gehen, Recht suchen vor dem Thron."

Lasst sie herein. Nah' ich dem Stuhle hier,
Gehör ich ganz dem Volke, und nicht mir.

Scene III
Zu ihnen die beiden Weiber

Erstes Weib
O Sohn des David, hör' der Mutter Leid!
Der Weisheit Spruch gewähr' Gerechtigkeit.
Dies süsse Kind ward mir zu Theil,
Das holde Knäblein, all mein Glück und Heil.
Auch diesem Weib ward ein Sohn,
Des Lebenshauch zu bald entfloh'n.
Ein Haus dient beiden uns zum Dach.
Und einst, da tief im Schlaf ich lag,
Stahl sie sich Nacht in mein Gemach,
Nahm meinen Liebling weg von meinem Schoos,
Und liess ihr Kind zurück, entseelt und leblos.
Nun hat sie ruchlos sich erfrecht
Und heischt für sich mein Mutterrecht.


Erstes Weib
Ach, kein Wort benennt mein Weh!
Seelenjammer, banger Schmerz
Zeuge für dies Mutterherz.
Sieh mich knie'n vor deinem Thron:
Das Recht ist mein, sei du mein Freund.

Zweites Weib
Falsch ist all ihr fein Gedicht.

Warnend schwebt die Waage schon.

Zweites Weib
Wäge streng des Rechts Gericht.

Erstes Weib
Ach, kein Wort benennt mein Weh!
Seelenjammer, banger Schmerz
Zeuge für dies Mutterherz.
Sieh mich knie'n vor deinem Thron:
Das Recht ist mein, sei du mein Freund.

Was sagt die andre zu so schwerer Schuld?
So sprich nun auch du, in Ordnung und Geduld

Zweites Weib
Nicht kann ich schmücken den Bericht,
Noch leih'n der Schuld ein hold Gesicht:
Dies Kind ist mein: ein Grabmal war
Des anderen Loos, das sie gebar.
Gib mir mein Kind, all meine Lust.
Mit Trost zu stillen meinen Brust!

Hört denn, ihr Frauen, was der König spricht,
Der von dem Thron urtheilt nach Recht und Pflicht.
Gleich, wie ihr Recht, sei Schaden und Gewinn:
Zertheilt das Kind; ihr Theil nehm' jede hin.
Auf, bringt ein Schwert her! Haut das Kind entzwei,
Auf dass geschlichtet euer Hader sei.

Zweites Weib
Dein Urtheil verfügt,
Was weis ist und klug,
Und mein Wunsch ist begnügt
Am Theil den ich trug.
Nicht feindlich gesinnt
Ist des Spruchs Meinung mir:
So entreiss' ich das Kind,
Das geliebte, doch dir.

Erstes Weib
Halt ein, steh ab vom schreckenvollen Mord!
Nimm, Herr, zurück dein furchtbar Wort!
Kann ich sehn mein Kind zerstückt
Durch den unbarmherzigen Stahl?
Kann ich sehn, wie's nach mir blickt,
Lächelnd vor der Todesqual!
Wie dem zarten Leib entrinnt
Purpurgleich die dunkle Flut? -
Schonet nur ein theures Blut!
Nehmt es hin – nur schont mein Kind.

Israel, vernimm was nun dein König spricht:
Nicht will den Mord den Unschuld das Gericht.
Das strenge Urtheil brachte nur zu Tag,
Was in dem Herzen beider Frauen sprach.
Sie, die frohlockt', als ich den Spruch bekannt,
Und nicht ein Wort mit Thräne fand,
Die kennt die Liebe einer Mutter nicht.
Heb dich weg! Und fürchte mein Gericht.
Doch Du , bestürmt von tiefem Mutterschmerz,
Nimm hin das Knäblein an dein pochend Herz;
Nur dein in Wahrheit kann der Säugling sein,
Zur Lust dir bleib' er nun und immer dein.

Erstes Weib
Dem König sei Heil!
Er ist weise und gut;

Der Herr war's , der so mich erhob,

Erstes Weib
Mein thränendes Aug' weinet Dank dir voll Glut.

An Gott nur gib Dank so wie Lob.
Hoch waltet der Herr, der da mächtig Ihn schützt,
Den bedroh'n der Gewaltigen Hände;

Erstes Weib
Wie selig ist der, der auf Gott nur sich stützt!

Sein Gnade, sie währet ohn' Ende.

Wer vom Osten bis hin zum West
Ist so weis' als Salomo?
Wer ist, Israels König gleich,
Glanz und Zierde seinem Thron?

Von früh bis spät sing' ich in Wonne gern
Des Königs Ehren, unsers weisen Herrn,
In dem mit Staunen all sein Israel preist
Der Demuth Würde und den hohne Geist
Sieh, wie die Palm' ihr Haupt hoch trägt
Am Rand des Jordanstrands,
Wie mächt'ge Zweige stolz sie regt,
Und grünt in vollem Glanz.
Nicht ragt ein andrer Baum empor,
Den ihr du gleichen wirst:
So strahlst auch du den Weisen vor,
Der grossen grösster Fürst.
Sieh, wie die Palm': (da capo)

Erstes Weib
Fortan weilt harmlos Glück in Feld und Haus,
Mild breitet Frieden sein sanft Gefieder aus.
Am klaren Bach , im stillen Thal
Klagt der Hirt in Liebesqual
Ihr, die all sein Herz ihm stahl.
Im Gesang' sein Sehen.
Weil er seinem Gram sich weiht,
Lauscht im Haine Knab' und Maid
Seinem Lied und seinem Leid,
Lächelnd unter Thränen.
Am klaren Bach: (da capo)

Schallt, schallt laut, ihr Chöre, zu Salomo's Preis,
O nennt ihn, ihr Sänger, den Stolzen unserer Zeit.
Schwellt lieblich des Lied, das besingt seine Huld,
Erhebt all das Volk mit dem Sang seines Ruhms.
Schallt, schallt laut, ihr Chöre: (da capo)

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)

Scene I
Solomon, Queen of Sheb, Zadok and Chorus

Queen of Sheba
From Arabia's spicy shores,
Bounded by the hoary main,
Sheba's queen these seats explores,
To be taught thy heav'nly strain.

Thrice welcome queen, with open arms
Our court receives thee, and thy charms.
The temple of the Lord first meets your eyes,
Rich with the well-accepted sacrifice.
Here all our treasures free behold,
Where cedars lie, o'erwrought with gold;
Next, view a mansion fit for kings to own,
The forest call'd of tow'ring Lebanon,
Where art her utmost skill displays,
And ev'ry object claims your praise.

Queen of Sheba
Ev'ry sight these eyes behold,
Does a diff'rent charm unfold;
Flashing gems, and sculptur'd gold,
Still attract my ravish'd sight.
But to hear fair truth distilling,
In expressions choice and thrilling
From that tongue, so soft and killing,
That my soul does most delight.

Sweep, sweep the string,
to sooth the royal fair,
And rouse each passion with th'alternate air
Music apread thy voice around,
Sweetly flow the lulling sound.

Music apread thy voice around,
Sweetly flow the lulling sound.

Now a diff'rent measure try,
Shake the dome, and pierce the sky.
Rouse us next to martial deeds;
Clanking arms, and neighing steeds,
Seem in fury to oppose
Now the hard-fought battle glows.

Now a diff'rent measure try,
Shake the dome, and pierce the sky.
Rouse us next to martial deeds;
Clanking arms, and neighing steeds,
Seem in fury to oppose
Now the hard-fought battle glows.

Then at once from rage remove;
Draw the tear from hopeless love;
Lengthen out the solemn air,
Full of death and wild despair.

Draw the tear from hopeless love;
Lengthen out the solemn air,
Full of death and wild despair.

Next the tortur'd soul release,
And the mind restore to peace.
Thus rolling surges rise,
And plough the troubled main;
But soon the tempest dies,
And all is calm again.

Next the tortur'd soul release,
And the mind restore to peace.
Thus rolling surges rise,
And plough the troubled main;
But soon the tempest dies,
And all is calm again.

Queen of Sheba
Thy harmony's divine, great king,
All, all obeys the artist's string.
And now, illustrious prince, receive
Such tribute as my realm can give.
Here, purest gold, from earth's dark entrails torn;
And gems resplendent, that outshine the morn;
There balsam breathes a grateful smell,
With thee the fragrant strangers wish to dwell.
Yet of ev'ry object I behold,
Amid the glare of gems and gold,
The temple most attracts my eye,
Where, with unwearied zeal,
you serve the Lord on high.

Pious king, and virtuous queen,
May your name resound in story;
In time's latest annals seen,
Crown'd with honour, crown'd with glory

Thrice happy king, to have achiev'd ,
What scarce will henceforth be believ'd;
When seven times around the sphere
The sun had led the new-born year,
The temple rose, to mark thy days
With endless themes for future praise.
Our pious David wish'd in vain,
By this great act to bless his reign;
But Heav'n the monarch's hopes withstood,
For ah! His hands were stain'd with blood.
Golden columns, fair and bright,
Catch the mortals' ravish'd sight;
Round their sides ambitious twine
Tendrils of the clasping vine:
Cherubims stand there display'd,
O'er the ark their wings are laid:
Ev'ry object swells with state,
All is pious, all is great.


Chorus 1
Praise the Lord with harp and tongue!
Praise Him all ye old and young,
He's in mercy ever strong.

Chorus 2
Prais the Lord through ev'ry state,
Praise Him early, praise him late,
God alone is good and great.

Full Chorus
Let the loud Hosannahs rise,
Widely spreading through the skies,
God alone is just and wise.

Queen of Sheba
May peace in Salem ever dwell!
Illustrious Solomon, farewell:
Thy wise instructions
be my future care,
Soft as the show'rs
that cheer the vernal air;
Whose warmth bids ev'ry plant her sweets disclose,
The lily wakes, and paints the op'ning rose.
Will the sun forget to streak
Eastern skies with amber ray,
When the dusky shades to break
He unbars the gates of day?
Then demand if Sheba's queen
E'er can banish from her thought
All the splendor she has seen,
All the knowledge thou hast taught.

Adieu, fair queen, and in thy breast
May peace and virtue ever rest!


Queen of Sheba
Ev'ry joy that wisdom knows,
May'st thou, pious monarch, share!

Ev'ry blessing Heav'n bestows,
Be thy portion, virtuous fair!

Queen of Sheba
Gently flow thy rolling day.

Sorrow be stranger here.

May thy people sound thy praise,
Praise unbought by price or fear.

The name of the wicked shall quickly be past;
But the fame of the just shall eternally last.

Scene I
Salomo, Königin von Saba und Chor

Königin von Saba
Von Arabien's würz'gem Strand,
Den das dunkle Meer umgränzt,
Komm ich her, zu sehn dies Land,
Wo dein Nam' und Ruhm erglänzt.

Sei uns willkommen! So hoher Gast
Empfängt mit Freuden mein Palast.
Den Tempel unsers Herrn sieht hier dein Aug',
Glanzvoll erhöht dem heil'gen Opferbrauch.
All unsern Schatz erblickst du hier
Im Cedernbau voll Gold und Zier.
Sieh den Palast dann, unsern Sitz und Thron,
Benannt der Wald des Berges Libanon,
Wo Kunst ihr höchstesWerk vollbracht,
Und alles athmet Herrscherpracht.

Königin von Saba
Jeder Blick, der sich beut,
zeugt von Glanz und Herrlichkeit;
Prachtgestein und Goldgeschmeid'
Lockt mein Aug', wohin es blickt.
Doch es ist der Weisheit Fülle
In des Sangs melod'scher Hülle.
Was mich bannt in heil'ge Stille,
Was mein Herz zumeist entzückt.

Stimmt an den Chor,
und stillt ihr Wunsch und Hang!
Ruft jed' Gefühl wach, wechselnd im Gesang.
Hebt im Chor der Stimmen Klang,
Lieblich tön' ein süsser Sang.

Hebt im Chor der Stimmen Klang,
Lieblich tön' ein süsser Sang

Nun ein Sang von andrer Glut!
Braust wie Sturm und rast in Wuth.
Stürmt uns auf zu Kraft und Muth!
Schwert und Schild und wiehernd Ross
Prallt zum Kampf in wildem Stoss
Nun entbrennt die Schlacht in Wuth.

Nun ein Sang von andrer Glut!
Braust wie Sturm und rast in Wuth.
Stürmt uns auf zu Kraft und Muth!
Schwert und Schild und wiehernd Ross
Prallt zum Kampf in wildem Stoss
Nun entbrennt die Schlacht in Wuth.

Doch nun stillt die wilden Triebe!
Singt die Qual verschmähter Liebe;
Trauernd einst ein Klaglied singt,
Wie sie Tod und Verzweiflung bringt.

Singt die Qual verschmähter Liebe;
Trauernd einst ein Klaglied singt,
Wie sie Tod und Verzweiflung bringt.

Und nun senk' ein sanftes Lied
Milden Frieden in's Gemüth.
So rollt die Wog' und steigt ,
Und furcht die Meeresflut;
Dann sinkt der Sturm und weicht,
Und alles schweigt und ruht.

Und nun senk' ein sanftes Lied
Milden Frieden in's Gemüth.
So rollt die Wog' und steigt ,
Und furcht die Meeresflut;
Dann sinkt dier Sturm und weicht,
Und alles schweigt und ruht.

Königin von Saba
O himmlisch ist dein Chor, fürwahr!
Des Meisters Wink beseelt die Schaar.
Doch nun, erhab'ner Fürst, nimm hier
Aus Saba Weihgeschenk von mir.
Hier reinstes Gold aus dunkler Erde Schacht,
Und Gemmen lechtend wie des Morgens Pracht.
Balsam stömt hier den Dufthauch aus:
Nimm auf den würz'gen Fremdling in dein Haus.
Doch von Allem, was ich hier erblickt,
Von Kunst erfreut, von Glanz entzückt:
Dem Tempel bleibt der höchste Preis,
Wo ihr in Andacht dient
dem Herrn im Himmelkreis.

Frommer Fürst und edle Frau,
Euer Ruhm wird ewig währen;
Spät'ster Zeit die reichste Schau,
Reich an Segen, reich an Ehren.

O sel'ger Fürst, der da vollbringt,
Was künft'ger Zeit unglaublich klingt:
Da siebenmal der Sonnenball
Die Sphärenbahn durchlief im All,
Entstand, zum Ruhm für unsre Zeit,
Dein Tempelbau voll Herrlichkeit.
Nicht deinem Vater ward gewährt,
Das solche That sein Reich geehrt,
Weil Gott dem König wiederstand,
Denn ach! von Blut troff seine Hand.
Goldner Säulen stolze Pracht
Bannt den Blick mit Zaubermacht;
Rings umrankt sie epheugleich
Schlanker Reben zarter Zweig;
Cherubime hehr und schön
Goldbeschwingt die Arch' umstehn:
Alles kunstreich,tadellos,
Alles herrlich, alles gross.


Chorus 1
Preist den Herrn mit Harfenklang!
Preist ihn All' mit lauten Sang,
Gnade ruht in seinem Schooss.

Chor 2
Preist den Herrn in jedem Stand,
Preist ihn frühe, preist ihn spät,
Gott allein ist stark und gross.

Gesamter Chor
Singt ihm mit Hosianna Preis,
Hoch empor zum Himmelskreis,
Gott allein ist gut und gross.

Königin von Saba
Sei Fried' in Salem segenvoll!
Erhab'ner Salomo, leb' Wohl!
Dein Wort der Weisheit
hat mich hoch beglückt,
Warm wie der Schau'r,
den früh der Lenz uns schickt,
Der mild den jungen Keim der Saat erquickt,
Die Lilie welche die Rosenknospe schmückt.
Säumt der Sonne Morgenlicht
Je in seinem Sphärenlauf?
Wenn der mächt'ge Nebel bricht,
Wirft das Thor des Tags sie auf:
So trägt Saba's Königin
Ewig treu in Herz und Sinn
All den Glanz, der ihr erschien,
All die Huld, die du verlieh'n.

Leb', Fürstin, wohl! und alle Zeit
Sei Fried' und Glück dein treu Geleit.


Königin von Saba
Alles Glück, das Weisheit gewährt,
Sei, o frommer Fürst, dein Theil.

Aller Segen, den Gott bescheert
Sei dein eigen, alles heil!

Königin von Saba
Sanft durchleb' der Tage Kreis.

Sorge sei ein Fremdling hier.

Froh im Volke schall' dein Preis,
Dir zum Ruhm, zur Wonne Dir.

Der Name der Bösen wird schnelle vergehn,
Doch der Ruhm der Gerechten wird ewig bestehn.