Sunday, September 25, 2011

Evgeny Kissin: Flight Of The Bumblebee

Evgeny Kissin plays "Flight of the Bumblebee," a work that Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan (1899-1900). The libretto was written by Vladimir Belsky, after Aleksandr Pushkin's fairy-tale poem of the same name.

The piece closes Act III, scene 2, during which time the magic Swan-Bird changes Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, the Tsar's son, into an insect —enabling him to fly away to visit his father who does not know that he is alive. The opera was first performed at Moscow's: Solodovnikov Theatre on November 3, 1900. (The synopsis for the opera can be found here.)

There are versions played on many instruments, including a fine violin version by Yehudi Menuhin here; and a trumpet version here by Wynton Marsalis, a noted and talented jazz musician.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov [1844-1908]: Portrait from 1898 before he composed the opera, The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
Painting by: Valentin Serov [1865-1911]; in 1898: At the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
Source: Wikipedia
For those interested in the science of how bumblebees fly, there is an excellent article here. It disproves the earlier held theory, and popularly believed myth, that bumblebees were poorly designed for aerodynamic flight.

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