Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The Flight of the Bumble Bee, musical picture for orchestra (from The Tale of Tsar Saltan)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Rimsky-Korsakov was quite prolific in the realm of opera, having completed 15, leaving four others in sketch form. The Tale of Tsar Saltan was the tenth and its music is among the most-familiar scores the composer wrote, both in operatic form and in the suite derived from the opera. The Flight of the Bumblebee has emerged as the score's most-famous musical passage, arguably as familiar-sounding as anything in Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov's most often-heard large work. Though many recordings of the Tsar Saltan Suite include it, The Flight of the Bumblebee is not a part of that work. It has also appeared in various arrangements for piano (Cziffra made a well-known one), for violin and piano, for brass ensemble, and many other instrumental combinations. The music occurs in the opera when Prince Gvidon consents to be turned into a bumblebee by a magical Swan, whose life he saved in his youth. The strings are heard buzzing hurriedly about at the outset, brilliantly conveying images of a busy bee racing about. A flute and later, a clarinet, joins in the fun, though the orchestral soloists negotiating the myriad of notes at breakneck speed may consider it anything but fun. Eventually, the Russian-flavored counter theme, played throughout in the background by pizzicato strings, is played more emphatically by low, pizzicato strings against the buzzing and bustling strings. The whole piece, all two minutes or so of it, is brilliant and colorful, its music having an instant catchiness.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295938109
    2016 Sony Classical 88985342962
    2016 Sony Classical 88875-11711-2
    2016 First Impression Music 97
    2016 Naxos 8509003
    2016 ABC Classics / ABC Kids 4812724
    2016 ABC Classics
    2016 Sleeveless SLV 1010
    2016 Marco Polo 8225847
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 555054
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777815
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4793590
    2015 K-Tel 137704
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646129706
    2015 Music & Arts MACD 1287
    2015 Erato / Rhino 36935
    2015 Appian / APR (Appian) APR 6017
    2014 100 Hits / Demon DMG100 129
    2014 Naxos 857828182
    2014 Nasswetter Limited / Nasswetter Music Group NASS 103
    2014 Fanfare Cincinnati FC 004
    2014 Decca
    2014 ArcoDiva UP 01602321
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88883746982
    2014 Warner Classics 5099901928129
    2014 Erato 2564631289
    2014 Genuin GEN 14295
    2014 Amadeus Arte / Musikarte AAP 001
    2014 Denon Records
    2013
    300
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 4790084
    2013
    300
    DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Motéma Music MTM 116
    2013 Alto ALN 1936
    2013 EMI Classics
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099992827
    2013 Lawo Classics LAW 1045
    2013 Profil / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 12033
    2013 Decca
    2013 Decca 001916602
    2013 Decca
    2013 Delos DE 3464
    2013 Alma / Alma Records 21213
    2013 BIS 1679
    2013 Genuin GEN 13544
    2013 Bella Musica BM 312448
    2013 Priory Records PRCD 5048
    2013 Divine Art DDA 21222
    2012 Decca
    2012 Big Eye / Cleopatra / Unchained Melodie BGECD 159
    2012 Danacord DACOCD 724
    2012 Dynamic 3580
    2012 Atoll ACD 600
    2012 Danica DCD 8231/32
    2012 Anderson Twins Jazz
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099995547
    2012 Sony Classical 88725434282
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 Delos DE 1627
    2012 Indesens INDE 015
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    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2012 Doremi Records DHR 6609
    2012 Ars Produktion 38121
    2012 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099960257
    2012 Danacord DACOCD 714715
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099962173
    2012 Teldec 2564672094
    2012 Decca / Universal
    2012 Mirare MIR 169
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099991762
    2011 Classics & Jazz / Universal / Universal Classics & Jazz
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    2011 Conveyor
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    2011 Opening Day Recordings / Steinway & Sons 30008
    2011 Opening Day Recordings ODR 7416
    2011 Decca
    2011 ABC Classics 4764196
    2011 ABC Classics 4764553
    2011 Philips 001644800
    2011 Altissimo ALT 62272
    2011 Altissimo ALT 62302
    2011 TGG Direct 60209
    2011 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88697556512
    2011 EMI Classics 6790602
    2011 Parlophone
    2011 Naxos 8578207
    2011 Naxos 8572693
    2011 Blue Griffin Recording BGR 233
    2011 Smekkleysa SMK 77
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    2011 Warner Classics 2564671711
    2011 Testament SBT 61471
    2011 Altissimo 61372
    2011 EMI Classics 509990947972
    2011 Decca 9866180
    2010 Sonoma Entertainment SBT20101
    2010 Sonoma / Sonoma Entertainment 4021
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    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 509996886272
    2010 Decca
    2010 ZYX 82329-2
    2010 Crystal Records Dist. 353
    2010 MSR Classics 1378
    2010 Blue Griffin Recording / Richter Uzur Duo 205
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    2010 Guild 5172
    2010 CD Baby / Towerhill 72027
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    2010 Tahra / TAHRA TAH 698700
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    2010 Nimbus / Nimbus Records 6118
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996700
    2009 Sony Classical 752307
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    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996427
    2009 Masterworks 8869742201
    2009 ABC Classics 271780
    2009 Naim Classical 118
    2009 Gega New 254
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    2008 Buena Vista / Walt Disney 000169702
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    2008 Berlin Classics 0184582BC
    2008 Hungaroton 32592
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4777529
    2008 Telarc Distribution 80695
    2008 Naïve 5119
    2008 UNI Classics Jazz / Universal Classics 5308909
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    2008 Wergo 6709
    2008 DST/Rockup RUP 771872
    2008 Panda Classics 578011-12
    2008 Denon Records 17684
    2008 Decca / Universal Classics 4780080
    2008 Melodiya MELCD 1001300
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 216121
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    2007 Novalis Classics 150719
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    2007 Supraphon 39012
    2007 RCA Red Seal 82876660082
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    2007 Decca 4758566
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    2007 Naxos 8570244
    2006 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946365645
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    2006 Philips 4761186
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    2005 Madacy 50798
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    2005 FIM / CPO / First Impression Music 60
    2005 Mercury 6610
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    2005 Classic FM 43
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    2005 EMI Music Distribution 64123
    2005 Sunshine Records 006
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    2005 Paradiso / Hot Town 39299
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    2005 Haenssler 98220
    2005 RCA Red Seal 66007
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    2005 London/Decca / Decca 000529102
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    2005 Walking Frog Records WFR 334
    2005 Time/Life Music 201842
    2005 Brilliant 92379
    2005 Doremi Records 71145
    2005 St. Clair 94192
    2005 Sain 2477
    2004 Walt Disney / Baby Einstein Company / Buena Vista 861232
    2004 Delos 1623
    2004 Golden Classics / Madacy 3517
    2004 Madacy 50133
    2004 Denon Records 17368
    2004 ASV 2062
    2004 David Morris
    2004 Sebastian Records 200
    2004 Naxos Historical 8110976
    2004 Beechwood Music 51701
    2004 Walking Frog Records 306
    2004 VAI Audio 1227
    2004 Sony Classical 92741
    2004 Bayer Records 150032
    2004 Philips / Philips 000167802
    2004 Groove Gravy 1104
    2004 DG Deutsche Grammophon 474785
    2004 Delta Distribution 16405
    2004 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41602
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585624
    2004 Universal Distribution 4762995
    2004 Denon Records 17380
    2004 St. Clair 31262
    2004 Pearl 205
    2004 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 557623
    2004 Decca 9866180
    2003 Priory Records 5000
    2003 Doremi Records 71135
    2003 Cembal d'Amour 120
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000020902
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2003 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 40044
    2003 VAI Audio 1212
    2003 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 3045
    2003 Blue Griffin Recording 109
    2003 Delta Distribution 40022
    2003 Laserlight 40020
    2003 Delta Distribution 40094
    2003 Delta / Delta Distribution / Laserlight 40019
    2003 Delta Distribution 40093
    2002 Concas/Mondragon / Concas-Mondragon Prod 69998
    2002 Big Eye Music 4253
    2002 Soundline / Soundline Band SLB 4004
    2002 Haenssler 94012
    2002 Brilliant 99934
    2002 Inside Sounds 2898
    2002 Naxos 8556809
    2001 Legacy Entertainment CBX001
    2001 Legacy CJH024
    2001 Legacy Entertainment CBX002
    2001 Idis 288
    2001 Sony Classical Essential Classics 89622
    2001 CBC Records 1065
    2001 Naxos 8-560050
    2001 Madacy 3522
    2000 Tring 001
    2000 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1807
    2000 Polygram 463240
    2000 Bongiovanni 5073
    2000 Main Street / Main Street Productio 6606
    2000 Direct Source Special 6253
    2000 Direct Source 8369
    2000 Delta Distribution 24484
    2000 Direct Source 6618
    2000 Direct Source 6522
    2000 Direct Source Special 6214
    2000 Avalon Records SOLCD101
    2000 Musica Viva 1019
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4696922
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 67017
    1999 JRB 9004
    1999 Fono Enterprise 99387
    1999 Haenssler 91116
    1999 RCA Victor Living Stereo / BMG / RCA 63304
    1999 Sony Classical Essential Classics / Sony Music Distribution 65819
    1999 Philips 412231
    1998 Sony Classical 60804
    1998 Laserlight 14388
    1998 Nonesuch 79464
    1998 Nonesuch
    1998 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243556602
    1998 RCA 902668983
    1998 Naxos 8 554066
    1998 Whirlybird Records 9855
    1998 Classic FM 8
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 28420
    1997 Naxos 8 556674
    1997 Naxos 8 553427
    1997 DHR 7705
    1997 Everest 9047
    1997 RCA 60924
    1997 Riv / Riviere International Records 56
    1997 Chandos 7093
    1997 Madacy 8819
    1997 Sony Classical 62691
    1996 RCA 68165
    1996 RCA 68235
    1996 Sony Classical MLK 62368
    1996 Pearl 9248
    1996 Apollo Music 607
    1996 Haenssler 98137
    1996 Decca 4547102
    1996 Decca 4561952
    1996 Seraphim UK 569113-2
    1995 Madacy 5650
    1995 Sony Classical 67195
    1995 EMI Music Distribution 68860
    1995 Pearl GEMMCD9156
    1995 Rene Gailly 88901
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 9846242
    1995 Carlton 00622
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 64537
    1995 Capriccio Records 10080
    1995 Novalis 150119
    1995 Madacy 5654
    1995 APR (Appian) 7016
    1995 APR (Appian) 7015
    1995 APR (Appian) APR 7029
    1995 BIS 750
    1994 Naxos 551147
    1994 Summit Records 166
    1994 Sony Classical 66702
    1994 Laserlight 15848
    1994 Laserlight 15938
    1994 IMP Masters 82
    1994 Mercury 434339
    1994 RCA Victor 61379
    1994 Laserlight 15815
    1994 Legacy/bescol / Legacy 361
    1994 Teldec 4509-94524-2
    1993 BIS 638
    1993
    4 X
    Bluebell 038
    1993 Cambria 1031
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 48469
    1993 Naxos 550085
    1993 Publishers Clearing House 5093/5095
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64830
    1993 RCA 74321133852
    1993 Teldec 77705
    1993 Denon Records 75118
    1992 Chandos Brass / Chandos CHAN-4513
    1992 Philips 432571
    1991 CBS Records 45737
    1991 RCA 60836
    1991 Laserlight 15685
    1990 CBS Records / Sony Music Distribution 45816
    1990 Sony Music Distribution 44726
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 763538-2
    1990 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 60242
    1990 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 60697
    1990 RCA 4733
    1990 Laserlight 15840
    1990 Laserlight 15980
    1990 Laserlight 15240
    1990 RCA / RCA Red Seal 4436
    1990 Telarc Distribution 80223
    1988 Sony Classical 44726
    1987 EMI Angel CDC 7476772
    1987 CBS Records 42137
    1987 Columbia 42137
    1987 CBS Records 42003
    1987 London 417 301-2DH
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 442877
    Time/Life Music 9012
    Priory Records 238
    Polskie Nagrania 060
    Drew Tretick
    D'Note 3005
    Disney 105467
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    Seraphim UK 69573
    AME
    Pavane 7294
    Net Fx 81002
    MMS 903171
    Ribbet
    Classic FM 4763789
    Evosound 011
    North Star Music 40
    Warner Music 28760
    Sony Music Distribution 42175
    Querstand 9509
    Finlandia 95864
    Radiant Mastery 1001
    Gitano Recording 106447
    Avui 10
    Musica Classica 2005/6
    BL 022
    Teldec
    Manchester 146
    Teldec 96231
    BMG 61733
    Grammofono 2000 78619/21
    Rainbow Media OMP 4563
    Naxos 550554
    Claves 509820
    France Loisirs 200801
    Ades 14166
    Forlane 029
    VER 474560
    Duet 11
    Music Digital 11973
    EMI Classics 98667
    RCA 68369
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 476820
    London 443810/4
    CBS Records 44726
    Rainbow Media OMP 5768
    Brilliant 99934/4
    Masters of the Millennium 2025
    Bescol 512
    Manchester 170
    Manchester 170
    Edel Records 45096/3
    Brilliant 91079
    M-Classic 200386
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    Basso-Profondo 102
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    Grammy Recordings 2000
    Remember Records 75017
    DeBone
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    Tring 037
    HMV Classics 568484
    Pickwick 1135
    Virgin Classics 694539
    Golden String 31
    Laserlight 15989
    The Catgut Acoustical Society CAS 9802
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    Cadenza Collection 101
    Reader's Digest Music 079
    Biddulph Recordings LAB046
    Universal Distribution 442822
    Disc Makers DKLA3393
    Brilliant 92379/4
    Virtuosys 213797
    Suresh Singaratnam 1
    Decca 475 8091DB5
    Samsung Classics 7001
    Sony Music Distribution 61990
    EMI Music Distribution 68751
    Vladimir Krainev International 22
    PricewaterhouseCoopers 2007