Archive for the ‘Religious Vocal’ Category

On June 13, 1748, George Frideric completed the score of Solomon. This oratorio, in three acts, is unique since each one depicts a fresco. The first act deals with the Dedication of the Temple and Solomon’s happy marriage with the pharaoh’s daughter. The second act, with the two harlots disputing about the parentage of the baby and the judgement from Solomon. And the third with the visit of Queen Sheba and the expression of different emotions in music. According to Handel scholar, Winton Dean, the composer conceived the work as an example of an ideal society and, consequently, as a tribute to british society and King George II.


Let’s hear some orchestral pieces, at first.

Solomon: Overture (Andante-allegro moderato)

Solomon: Act III: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

For more information

Atma Classique


Online reviews

Classics Today


From the excellent 1984 Gardiner recording, let’s give a look to the “May no rash intruder” chorus, from the Act I, where Handel depicts the nightingales with nice strings effects.

Solomon: Act I: Chorus “May no rash intruder”


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.


John Eliot Gardiner/English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir/Philips

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We could not end this post without the rousing last chorus from the great Reuss/Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin/RIAS Kammerchor recording on Harmonia Mundi.

Solomon: Act III: Chorus “Praise the Lord”


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

Chorus 2
Praise 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.

For more information

Harmonia Mundi


Online reviews

Classics Today


Sources for this post

Libretto List

Winton Dean, “Solomon, an oratorio of pageantry and pomp”, notes from the Gardiner/Philips CD.


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Friday. It means it is the time for the hidden gem of the week.

For the first entry of that thematic series, I had in mind to put on spotlight Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704). Born in Bohemia, he worked

at the court of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg (the same employer of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Michael Haydn) from 1670 to his death. He became Kapellmeister in 1684 and was knighted by the Emperor Leopold I in 1690 (his name changed then for Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern). He is known for his contributions to the violin technique and the art of scordatura (mis-tuning of strings).

A great example of scordatura is the Mystery Sonatas set, created around 1676 (but not all were composed at the same time).  The mysteries, or mediations on the life of the Christ and the Virgin Mary are divided into three cycles of five (joyful, sorrowful, glorious). I selected the sonata no 11: The Resurrection, which is part of the “glorious” cycle, is the greatest example of scordatura in the  sonatas series.


WalterReiter, violin/Ensemble Cordaria/Brilliant Classics

(The CD was first released on SIGNUM CD).

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I selected too a sample from Biber’s requiem in F Minor, composed around 1692 in Salzburg. Youtube offers a good performance of the Sequence part of the Requiem. The latin text with its english translation is available on Wikipedia:

Paul McCreesh/Gabrieli Consort and Players/Archiv

Sources for this post




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If my blog would have been launch a month ago, this entry would be classified under “Today in Classical Music History”. But it was not, so pardon me if I cheat a bit and celebrates a month later the 350th anniversary of Alessandro Scarlatti’s birth, on May 2, 1660, in Sicilia. He is mostly known for his operas and religious music (oratorios, cantatas). He worked mainly in Naples but lived many years in Rome. The samples I will provide come from his Cantata per la Notte del SS. Mo Natale (aria All’arme si accesi guerrieri)  and concerto grosso no 2 in C minor. 


Minkowski/Les Musiciens du Louvre/Cecilia Bartoli

For Information



Online Reviews



Fabio Biondi/Europa Galante

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How to begin a blog properly? Well, by the beginning!

When I think of a beginning, I think of Joseph Haydn‘s Creation (Die Schöpfung), oratorio composed between 1796 and 1798 and influenced in part by George Frideric Handel’s choral style (Haydn visited Britain in 1791-1792 and 1794-1795 and attended to many Handel concerts).

The libretto (“The Creation of the World”), offered by Johann Peter Salomon (via Thomas Linley), is based on Genesis, the book of Psalms and John Milton’s Paradise Lost and was possibly offered to Handel but the saxon maestro did not use it anyway.  The author is unknown but there is a possibility that Mary Delany, a friend of Handel, wrote it during the 1740s. One of her letters to a certain Mrs Dewes gives us a hint:

And how do you think I have lately been employed? Why, I have made a drama for an oratorio, out of Milton’s Paradise Lost, to give Mr. Handel to compose it.

Whoever was the author, the baron Gottfried van Swieten, an avid Handel music fan, translated it in german, not without difficulty.

As for the music, I will present you the three first movements of The Creation. The samples come from the Andreas Spering/Capella Augustina/VokalEnsemble Köln production and published by Naxos.

I- Prelude (The Representation of Chaos)  http://www.box.net/shared/04y4tako5h

II- Recitative-chorus (In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth): The creation of light  http://www.box.net/shared/e2pbu43fe3

III-Aria-chorus (Now vanished by the holy beams): Defeat of Satan http://www.box.net/shared/odmbbem7zx

For more information



Some reviews of this CD are available online



Sources for this post

VIGNAL, Marc. Joseph Haydn. [Paris], Fayard, 1988. Les indispensables de la musique (french)


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