Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nikolai

Today, I’ve been told, is the birthday of Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov. But I think I’ll call him "Nick".

Nick may have been one of the first to use a hyphenated last name. He was a Russian musician who lived through the turn of the 20th century. He died just short of 102 years ago.

A passionate and accomplished pianist, Nick became an active composer and was a contemporary of Tchaikovsky. They were “cautious comrades,” however, each proud of, and protective of, his own work.

One of his more well known pieces is Flight of the Bumblebee which closes act III of his opera, The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899-1900.

The reason I noticed Nick’s birthday is due to a very creative application of his last name. If you’ve ever been to Portland Oregon’s funky east side, you may have come across the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, a very popular eatery, coffee gathering place and music bistro. Click here to reach their blog.

My wife and I enjoyed some outstading chamber music there back in the 90’s. Apparently, it’s still going strong.

So, Happy Birthday, Nick. Thanks for your music contribution to our lives!

1 comment:

Ralph Higgins said...

Good article on old Rimski. I didn't know he wrote the "Flight of the Bumble Bee." I thought Fats Domino wrote that (only kidding). I've heard it played by Raphael Mendez, one of my trumpet heroes going back to the 40's. The guy played flawlessly.