Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Flight of the “Bumblebeasts”: for five trombones

Arranged by Neal Bennett

N.p., ,
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles

“Flight of the Bumblebee,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous interlude from his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, has become a virtuosic showpiece for musicians of all instruments. Based on the original, Neal Bennett adapts this classic work for trombone quintet, transforming it into the Flight of the “Bumblebeasts.” Bennet is a trombone virtuoso and co-founder of the acclaimed Canadian trombone quintet iTromboni. Scored for four tenor trombones and one bass trombone, this arrangement features the first trombonist as a soloist accompanied by the remaining four parts. Not for the faint of heart, the solo part is technically challenging and covers a range from F to e2, with the part beginning on e2 and descending two octaves in quick 16th notes. While the solo part is quite difficult, the other parts, which provide rhythmic stability, are playable by advanced college students. Accompanying parts are occasionally challenging, with 16th note lines being handed off between the parts. Both the first and second trombone parts are written in tenor clef, with the remaining parts in bass clef. Flutter-tonguing is written in all four accompanying parts, creating a “buzzing” effect. The trickiest aspect in preparing this piece is coordinating the accompanying parts so that the soloist can lock-in and feel comfortable. Bennett’s arrangement offers a great way to feature a guest artist on a burning fast crowd pleaser with your college or professional trombone quartet. You can hear iTromboni featuring Bennett as the soloist on the group’s first compact disc, There Goes the Neighbourhood.

Reviewer: Russell Ballenger
Review Published January 31, 2019