Solomon (includes The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba)
George Frideric Handel

63

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Handel has 7 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame — the same amount as Schubert and Wagner — and this is his third highest.

The year 1749 was a monster one for Handel. He had so many projects on the go, friends must surely have feared for his health. There must be nothing so demoralising for a composer as writing music that is not performed and Handel was no different. He wanted some of the music he had already written in the previous year to see the light of day. One work that fell into this category was his oratorio Solomon. He had spent precious time on it in 1748 and felt it should be out there in front of the listening public.

Solomon consists of three acts, plus an overture sixty-two sections in all, with liberal mention for one of the lead characters, Zadok the Priest. But don't get confused. The anthem 'Zadok the Priest' doesn't feature. That had already been written, twenty-two years earlier, for a coronation.

The Judgment of Solomon by Raphael (1509).