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Belkis, Regina di Saba

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Ottorino Respighi

Ottorino Respighi (tr. Kimura)


The title translates from the Italian as "Belkis, Queen of Sheba."


General Info

Year: 1931 / 1995
Duration: c. 23:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: de haske
Cost: Score and Parts (print; two sections sold separately) - $227.00 (each)   |   Score Only (print) - Unknown


Movements

1. The Dream of Solomon – 7:45
2. War Dance – 2:50
3. The Dance of Belkis at Dawn – 7:20
4. Orgiastic Dance – 5:10


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contra-Bassoon
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Harp
Celesta
Timpani
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Tambourine (2)
  • Triangle


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

In 1931 Ottorino Respighi began composing the music for his most ambitious theatre work: Belkis, regina di Saba. The ballet describes the journey of Belkis, the Queen of Sheba, to Solomon, the King of Israel, with whom she was in love. She travels with a large caravan including elephants, camels, slaves and many valuable treasures, through the desert. Kimura has arranged this colorful Oriental suite for wind band.

- Program Note by publisher


Among Respighi’s splendidly orchestrated works, perhaps the richest and most colorful is this four-movement suite drawn from a full-length ballet based on the most erotic story of the Bible, that of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Respighi himself confected his suite from the full ballet score three years after the original presentation in Milan, with two lush and evocative slow movements, and two energetic dances, freely sewing different sections together.

The suite begins with Ii Sogno di Salomone (Solomon’s Dream). In the ballet, Solomon calls on the Queen to travel to Jerusalem after he experiences a vision informing him that she is in love with him from afar. A dark-toned opening prelude depicts the desert sky and Solomon’s solitude. The music of the suite then segues to a later episode when Solomon actually greets the visiting Queen who, overcome with his splendor, falls at his feet.

La Danze di Belkis all’aurora (The Dance of Belkis at Dawn) is the parallel scene for the Queen. In her palace by the Red Sea she dreams of Solomon, then awakens to discover her servants have left the scroll from Solomon summoning her. She then dances in praise of the morning sun.

Danza guerresca (War Dance) begins a pair of movements depicting ceremonies in Solomon’s palace. Some conductors place it second in order to provide a slow-fast-slow-fast structure. In it, nearly naked athletes dance on immense drums. The final Danza orgiastica (Orgiastic Dance) is a sensuous and majestic finale celebrating the union of the two monarchs.

Belkis has long been a favorite large production work in Japan, performed by secondary, collegiate and community wind orchestras for festival and regular concerts alike.

- Program Note from Tokyo Geidai Wind Orchestra concert program, 17 December 2016


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI (1-2 or 3-4)


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Perusal score.
  • Respighi, O.; Kimura, Y. (1995). Belkis, Regina di Saba : Belkis, Queen of Sheba : Suite for Symphonic Band [score]. De Haske: Heerenveen, Netherlands.