Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov: “Capriccio Espagnol Op. 34” and “Flight of the Bumblebee”

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov had more than a great (31 letter) name.

Flight of the Bumblebee, of course, is familiar. It clearly demands tremendous technical expertise to play, but it seems like a novelty number. Capriccio Espagnol Op. 34 is accessible, which is a fancy way of saying that heathens like me can enjoy it.

This is from Classical Archives:

Mainly known for his symphonic works, especially the popular symphonic suite Sheherazade, as well as the Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Festival Overture, Rimsky-Korsakov left an oeuvre that also included operas, chamber works, and songs. Rimsky-Korsakov’s music is accessible and engaging owing to his talent for tone-coloring and brilliant orchestration. Furthermore, his operas are masterful musical evocations of myths and legends.

Born in 1844, Rimsky-Korsakov studied the piano as a child but chose a naval career, entering the College of Naval Cadets in St. Petersburg in 1856. However, he continued with piano lessons; in fact, in 1859, Rimsky-Korsakov started working with the French pianist Theodore Canille, through whom he met Balakirev, an important mentor and friend. (Continue Reading…)