The instantly recognisable Flight of the Bumblebee actually started out as an orchestral interlude in Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1900 opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan. It depicts a scene where a magical swan turns Prince Gvidon into a bumblebee so that he can fly away to visit his father, who believes that he is dead. With the popularity of the Flight of the Bumblebee now so totally overshadowing that of its parent, the opera itself now seems more incidental!
The ‘Flight’ has long been a staple of many a virtuoso, with its frantic, virtually uninterrupted chromatic semiquavers. Over the years it has appeared in many guises for an array of different instruments. Here for four bassoons: everyone has plenty of notes – but especially bassoon one. Let the buzzing commence!