Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Flight of the Bumblebee

Der Hummelflug, aus "Zar Saltan" Op. 57 · David Firman, National Philharmonic Orchestra


This music is composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Flight of the Bumblebee

Who is quickest

"Flight of the Bumblebee" is an orchestral interlude written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899–1900. Its composition is intended to musically evoke the seemingly chaotic and rapidly changing flying pattern of a bumblebee. Despite the piece’s being a rather incidental part of the opera, it is today one of the more familiar classical works because of its frequent use in popular culture.

"Flight of the Bumblebee" is recognizable for its frantic pace when played up to tempo, with nearly uninterrupted runs of chromatic sixteenth notes. It is not so much the pitch or range of the notes that are played that challenges the musician, but simply the musician’s ability to move to them quickly enough. Because of this and its complexity, it requires a great deal of skill to perform. Often in popular culture, it is thought of as being notoriously hard to play.

In the "Tsar Saltan" suite, the short version is commonly played, taking less than two minutes. In the Opera version, the three-minute fifty-five-second version is performed.

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