August 2014

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Homage d’ Abeille




The bee appears on over 250 coins from ancient Greece (above coin from Ancient Ephesus).


As the summer comes to a close, think how many times you saw a bee busily going about his chores in a garden, park or field. There are a number of musical tributes to bees. Musicians often perform Flight of the Bumble-Bee by Rimsky-Korsakov and this includes trumpet players too (movies and TV – think Green Hornet)!  You will need to be at the top of your game and be very familiar with your chromatic scales. The Arban Complete Method- pages 76 – 86 would be a great place to start your study of chromatic scales. If you have Clarke’s Technical Studies for the Cornet, Series/Study #1 & #7 would also be of value. Remember to start slowly and increase your speed. Snap your fingers down hard and keep the rhythm even and steady. Use your metronome!!

Examples of trumpet players performing Flight of the Bumble-Bee:

Harry James

Rafael Mendez

Mendez interview on “Playing the Bumble-Bee
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Further fun listening:

Here are some additional pieces that have a bee or insect in the title.

Benjamin Britten   Two Insect Pieces for Oboe and piano

Bela Bartok           6th Book of the Cycle Mikrokosmos – “From the Diary of a Fly”

Josquin Desprez   El Grillo (the Cricket)

Anthony Plog       Animal Ditties VII for Brass Quintet – Preying Mantis (mvt. 2); Firefly (mvt. 8);

The wasp (mvt. 9).

Francis Poulenc   Les Animaux Modèles – the Grasshopper and the Ant

Michael Nyman     Where the Bee Dances

Joesph Strauss    Die Libelle (the Dragonfly – polka/mazurka)

Howard Shore       The Fly (opera 2007)

Ralph Vaughan Williams The Wasps Overture (incidental music for the Aristophanes play)

Finish your summer in style- become a chromatic scale fanatic! have fun…