[lit-ideas] Re: Flight of the Bumble Bee

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 03:19:59 -0400

Andy: And here's a piano version, probably my most favorite instrument (violin is nice too but unfathomable)

Lousy, unmusical pianist in that youtube clip. What a patzer.

Important to remember that Flight of the Bumble Bee is an orchestral interlude in an opera. Any solo performance is a sort of reduction, or if you will, a translation of the original. The two most widely played piano transcriptions are by Rachmaninoff (there's an electric recording and a piano roll recording of his performance) and Georges Cziffra (the recording by Arcadi Volodos is stellar). R's transcription is spare and right to the point. Cziffra's transcription, on the other hand, is wildly ornamented and showy. (For violin, there's the Heifitz transcription.)

Piano transcriptions may be a separate animal, a translation, but they are useful. Most 19th century folk only heard Beethoven Symphonies in the piano transcriptions by Liszt, orchestras being sparse and recordings nonexistent.
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