“Welcome as the dawn of day” from Solomon, HWV 67
George Frideric Handel
The duet ’twixt Solomon and his wife, “Welcome as the dawn of day,” introduces one of the raciest scenes in English Biblical oratorio. It was so erotic, in fact, as to be expurgated from the early Novello edition. The king and his bride express their passion before they “haste to the cedar grove” to consummate their love “while nightingales lull them to sleep with their song.” Their melodic lines of fugal imitation entwine in this duet while the strings discreetly comment from the sidelines.