>>ABOUT>>STORIES ABOUT THE SONGS


LIST OF SONG TITLES
1. Berber Wedding Song
2. The Music Class
3. Twilight on the Water
4. Hurrian Moonrise
5. Ninkasi’s Dance
6. Lament for Linus
7. Solitary Theme
8. Long Ago Lullaby
9. Fortune-Telling Song
10. Hurrian Moonset
11. Ea, the Creator
12. The Queen of Sheba
13. Hal Libba Marya
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA

Modes shift from D to C to A to G

Palace of Balqis (originally Sheba) being restored

Only small image available

The music for "The Queen of Sheba," represents the glorious procession of the Queen with her attendants, her musicians, and the bearers of her gifts for the wise King Solomon at his court in Jerusalem. The Queen herself, covered in elegant finery and jewels advances slowly, followed by her entourage and comes to kneel respectfully before King Solomon the Wise, as the piece comes to an end.

The location of Sheba or Saba in southern Arabia is now Yemen.

Below is the actual Bible passage from First Kings "The New English Bible with Apocrypha," Oxford University Press, 1970

Renaissance painting of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

Click image for larger view

I Kings: 10

The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame and came to test him with hard questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very large retinue, camels laden with spices, gold in great quantity, and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she told him everything she had in her mind, and Solomon answered all her questions; not one of them was to abstruse for the king to answer. When the Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the house which he had built, the food on his table, the courtiers sitting round him, and his attendants standing behind in their livery, his cup bearers, and the whole-offerings which he used to offer in the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit left in her. Then she said to the king, 'The report which I heard in my own count;ry about you and your wisdom was true, but I did not believe it until I came and saw for myself. Indeed I was not told half of it; your wisdom and your prosperity go far beyond the report which I had of them. Happy are your wives, happy these courtiers of yours who wait on you every day and hear your wisdom!
...Then she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great abundance, and precious stones. Never again came such a quantity of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon

image: http://www.renaissance-gallery.net/

  We chose to use a traditional melody given as a "Yemenite Folksong," in "Jewish Music in its Historical Development," by A. Z. Idelsohn as a starting inspiration point for this piece. The melodic rhythms are largely maintained, but the actual melody is expanded and developed. Interesting to note is how the tonal center seems to shift around once harmonies are applied to the melody. This is probably an indication of how early music was generally more monodic and did not imply a particular "key area" with harmonies as most (but not all) of our western music does today.

Yemenite woman

Click for slightly larger view

The words to the folksong song are given by Idelsohn in Yemenite Hebrew. Thanks to the assistance of Dr. Martin Schwartz at U.C. Berkeley, we learn that the text can be roughly sketched as follows, (without diacritical marks) with some 'fine tuning' to the original translation.

Le-fe-lach, ho-ri-mon,
Le-fe-lach, ho ri-mon;
Se-bi-yoh e ne-hoh,
Le-lib-bi o-so-ru.

"Unto the splitting of a pomegranite, (x2)
Oh, gazelle, her eyes have captured my heart.."

Could the first line perhaps mean "Stricken (smitten?) like a cleaved pomegranite..."?
(
The term "gazelle" is often used to refer to an attractive woman in many near eastern cultures). JS

"Return to Sheba"

by Joanne Battiste

Click for slightly larger view

The following passage describes a painting (see left) by Joanne Batiste of the Queen of Sheba appearing on a site WIC (Womens' International Center) in History of Women Through Art. Used by permission.

www.wic.org/artwork/idex_art.htm

QUEEN OF SHEBA
(So. Arabia Sabaran - 950 BC)

Before the approaching desert storm, the Queen of Sheba stands thoughtfully, reflecting on her visit with King Solomon. She must realize that, indeed, the end of the era for reigning matriarchy in the Middle East, certainly her own queendom, is in its last dim shadow of the sands and the gifts of Solomon are but hollow coins.

http://www.projectsheba.org
/Research.htm#Queen

What did the Queen want and what did she ask for in addition to what Solomon gave her from the royal bounty? Various other texts to be discussed in this chapter mention the fact that Solomon was planning, with the aid of the Phoenicians, to build ships that would be able to navigate the Red Sea which would thereby render the land route of the spice trade obsolete. It makes sense to hypothesize here that the Queen, being the ruler of a queendom whose empire was based on the monopoly of the spice route, would have considerable interest in a route that could take away her monopoly. .

Restoration of Mahram Bilquis, thought to be originally a place of
pilgrimage for worship of the Moon god.

Click for larger image, or link to site above right

ABC News Article

Wendell Phillips was the first Western archaeologist allowed to excavate the forbidden “Temple of the Moon God,” now known in Arabic as “Mahram Bilqis.” The site is believed to be near the Queen of Sheba’s legendary palace.
     For four-and-a-half months, he dug alongside the Bedouins, sifting the sands of time from ancient treasures, only to abandon them when an assassin’s threat forced him to flee. He never returned to dig, dying at a young age under the care of his sister, Merilyn Phillips Hodgson.

     ... The Old Testament simply mentions her (the Queen of Sheba) visiting King Solomon of Jerusalem around 950 B.C. A similar story is revealed in the pages of the Koran. But various despots, Marxists and guerrillas have prevented modern archaeologists from visiting her once-thriving kingdom. Wendell Phillips was the exception — until now.
     Today in Calgary, Alberta, a team of archaeologists digging at the now-protected site for two years announced the ruins of the temple spotted by Wendell Phillips are only a fraction of what’s buried. Radar analysis has revealed a massive, intricate building below.
     “Probably more than a mile in length, its width about the same,” says Bill Glanzman of the University of Calgary. “It’s a very, very large site.”
     Ancient writings reveal it was a place of pilgrimage where people would travel to worship the Moon God. Also found in the walls were the names of women. Whether they reveal the true identity of the Queen of Sheba isn’t known yet, but Glanzman says it’s not out of the question.

 

 
©Bella Roma Music 2002