a very busy bee

this day in history: nikolai rimsky-korsakov’s birthday, albeit 171 years ago.
guys, this is actually a history lesson for me because frankly… i don’t know a lot about the guy. yeah, i’ve heard of him before but nope, not familiar. so, these are some really general facts i found out:

  • russian (can guess by the name, right?)
  • member of a group of composers called the five
  • famous for his orchestral compositions
  • frequently used fairy tale & folk subjects
  • love for the sea, graduated from naval academy & went on many voyages

well, i’m not going to go into detail – i’ll leave that for my music history course next year or for the near future. though if i intrigued you somehow (glad i did), by all means, use the power of the internet we have in today’s culture and search him up.

one of his most well-known works… and i confess it’s probably the only one i recognized by name is what i will be presenting to you to day and not analyzing in harmonically or structure or whatnot.

title: flight of the bumblebee (from the tale of tsar saltan)
composer: nikolai rimsky-korsakov
genre: orchestral interlude
year: 1899-1900 (so one of his later works)

oh man is that piano section crazy! he really captured the buzzing sound of bees. uhh… what else do i say that won’t turn it too theoretical? well, as it is a part of a larger work, there are leitmotifs (themes that represent certain people, things, or concepts) used in this “movement” that represent the prince of the story. to put this piece into context, it closes the scene where a magical swan changes the prince into a bumblebee so he can fly away to visit his father, the tsar (who doesn’t know his son is alive). the swan does sing a bit, basically telling the prince, now a bumblebee, to fly safely and secretly. hence, the flight of the bumblebee, yeah? hope that upped your music history a bit (i know it did for me).

that’s all for now.