QUEEN OF SHEBA
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
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
chose to use a traditional melody given as a "Yemenite
"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.
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;
Se-bi-yoh e ne-hoh,
the splitting of a pomegranite, (x2)
gazelle, her eyes have captured my heart.."
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"
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|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.
(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.
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
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 Shebas 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 assassins 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 whats
buried. Radar analysis has revealed a massive, intricate
Probably more than a
mile in length, its width about the same, says
Bill Glanzman of the University of Calgary. Its
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 isnt known yet, but Glanzman
says its not out of the question.