The Culture Club (4 March 2023)

Welcome to The Rhythm Section! The aim of this blog is to celebrate how music has shaped people’s lives over the years. Or, in the case of the Culture Club slot. centuries! How do you like a bit of classical?

Each week, I’ll present a tiny snippet from the enormous world of classical music. Usually, classical has a soothing, chilled effect, but beware: I may throw some curve balls at you! So, under that broad description of “classical”, expect anything!

The common thread, I hope, is your enjoyment.

For this week, I’m posting Handel‘s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. Handel (1685 – 1759) was a German-born baroque composer who moved to the UK in 1712. Educated in Halle, he is famous for (among others) his operas and oratorios. He became anglicized, and was closely associated with the British nobility. He wrote music for four coronations, much of which is still used today. He died a rich man, and was so well-thought-of he was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Today’s piece comes from one such oratorio, Solomon, based largely on the biblical stories.

Okay, if, like me you’re asking What’s an oratorio?, it was basically a large composition of the time. Orchestra, choir, soloists… Italian in origin, as you can probably guess from the name, oratorios are very similar to operas, although while you can think of an opera as musical theatre, an oratorio is solely a piece of music. Handel himself is largely responsible for creating the subtype of oratorios known simply as English.

Solomon was first performed in 1749. and is split into three acts. The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba takes place in the third act, and has become famous in its own right.


Okay, a tiny question for you. Post if you wish, but a simple comment will suffice. Handel’s work was played at four coronations even in his lifetime, and every coronation since. What’s the grandest event you’ve been to?


  1. Nice post, Mr. Bump! Handel was truly one of the masters.
    I don’t know if this counts as a grand event but it was one of the most inspiring and memorable occasions for me: as a representative of my church, I met Pope John Paul II at a rally at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York and later attended a dinner in his honor. It’s difficult to put into words what it was like being in his presence. He was, in my opinion, among the holy.
    Thanks for posting this amazing music! 🎢

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh, this is brilliant! Thank you, Bump. I saw the title and thought, “Oh dear, Boy George.” I adore Handel. As for an occasion, the birthday ball for the crown prince of Denmark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was really pretty, really enjoyed it. As for the question, biggest event I’ve been too was probably last weekend at the opening night of The Fringe. 140,000 people and I reckon I bumped into everyone of them

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m a follower now, everything came on line this morning. I don’t know if it has something to do with this latest wordpress update

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very uplifting!
    But I can’t think of any grand events off the top of my head. if I’d been to one, I’d probably still have the outfit in my wardrobe, πŸ™‚
    Although, to Nancy’s point, I was in St Peter’s Square one year when the then Pope gave Christmas greetings. Just one dot in a cast of thousands.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, yes. The eternal city and all that. But as a young single woman travelling solo, I had to be on my toes. Especially around the railway station.
        And it was a little odd to be there alone at Christmas but it all sorted out in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I left Australia for England and Europe as a “backpacker” when I was 22 and returned four years later. I was very happy to be solo and not part of an Australian group knocking around in a VW Kombi Van bought outside Australia House in London.
            But I would been incredibly naive to think that every experience was going to be roses. I kept my wits about me. But also got to live like the locals in lots of places.
            Looking forward to returning one day and just hanging out in rented accommodation for a few months as a base to explore further. In comparison to Australia, everything is SO close.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m passionate about classical music, I listen to it whenever I’m sitting at my computer, and love nothing more than attending concerts, the most enjoyable being a recital by the Andre Rieu orchestra back in June. The grandest event? I was sitting a few feet behind Paul McCartney when the late Queen knighted him at Buck House!

    Liked by 1 person

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