Bumblebee on a 200 year Journey

by Daniel Mackie May 22, 2016 1 Comment

Is it by chance and luck a piece of great art is created?

bumblebee in progress

Here is an example how difficult it is to create great art and how many things need to fall into place to make it happen.

In this case you need. A great composer, a visionary poet, a kidnaped child and a stunning looking girl.

In 1899 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed a famous piece of music, The flight of the Bumblebee. In order for this to happen a chain of unusual events had to take place. 200 years prior to the first notes of The flight of the Bumblebee even being thought of by Rimsky-Korsakov a child was kidnapped from Central Africa and presented as a gift to Peter the Great. (Tsar of Russia between 1682 - 1721).
This child, Abram Petrovich Gannibal was raised in Peter the Great's household and given a good education. Peter died in 1725 and Prince Menshikov gained power. He did not like Abram and sent him to Siberia.  Fortunately Peter's daughter, Elizabeth, became monarch in 1741 and Abram was pardoned and became a prominent member of her court. He married a Greek woman who was unfaithful to him and gave birth to another man's child, some what scalded by this experience he imprisoned her and bigamously married another woman, Christina Regina Siöberg.

Christina was much nicer to him, very nice in fact - he fathered ten children with her. One of them was a son called Osip. He was very nice and had a very nice daughter called Nadezhda, she married Sergei Lvovich Pushkin and gave birth to a son who was the greatest Russian poet ever! His name was Alexander Pushkin. 
Now this has been a winding road to get to this point and you will agree a lot of chance and random events have occurred and we are still 100 years form Rimsky-Korsakov penning the famous orchestral piece.
We must move on,  Pushkin was very talented, hold on, that is an understatement, he was a colossus. He was the well from which sprung modern Russian literature. However, he was libertarian and a radical which got him into trouble. Like his grandfather he was exiled, fortunately not to Siberia but to his mother's rural estate in Mikhailovskoe. Here, he wrote romantic poetry to various women and penned his most famous work, Boris Godunov. But we must hurry over the writing of poetry and prose and get to the girl.

Not just and ordinary girl, a real stunner, a celebrated beauty in Moscow society, Natalya Goncharova was her name, Pushkin was bowled over in love with her at first sight.  But her mother was aware of Pushkin’s libertine reputation and history of conflict with the authorities. She tried to stop things before they got started. But get started they did. They got married, however Natalya’s overwhelming beauty brought many men beating a path to her door, one of these men was her brother in law, George. She supposedly had an affair with him so Pushkin challenged the dirty rotten bast**d to a duel and was sadly killed.  

This was unfortunate for Pushkin, but fortunately he had already penned "The Tale of Tsar Saltan” and this was the fairy tale that, Rimsky-Korsakov turned into an opera, and "The Flight of the Bumblebee" is an orchestral interlude within that opera.. we got there ..... round of applause please for the Kidnapper who ever he was!

Had you any idea so many things had to happen and fall into place before a great work makes it fully formed into the world!

Shop the whole the DM Bugs and Butterflies collection

Image © Daniel Mackie

Daniel Mackie
Daniel Mackie


1 Response


May 24, 2016

What a tale and a complicated drawing.hats off

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