Art And Culture

Iran Flautist is Fastest Player of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’

Armin Gheitasi has played the famous classical piece by flute in less than 45 seconds, breaking the world record
Armin GheitasiArmin Gheitasi

Iranian young flute player Armin Gheitasi has broken the world record for fastest performance of the famous musical piece ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ by flute. He is going to register his name in the Guinness World Records.

Gheitasi, 34, announced this at a press conference at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on Monday, Mehr News Agency reported.

‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ is an orchestral interlude written by the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) for his opera ‘The Tale of Tsar Saltan’, composed in 1899.

“About three years ago, I played the piece and uploaded it on YouTube. The interesting point was that after a month, I saw over 15,000 people from abroad had watched the video and liked it,” Gheitasi said.

What had been welcomed by the viewers was the speed of the performance “so I decided to play it again to prove the abilities of an Iranian musician in playing a classical piece.”

‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ is recognizable for its frantic pace when played up to tempo, with nearly uninterrupted runs of chromatic 16 notes. It is not so much the pitch or range of the notes that are played that challenges the musician, but simply the musician’s ability to move to them quickly enough. Because of this and its complexity, it requires a great deal of skill to perform.

  Standard Showcase for Solo Virtuosity

Although the original orchestral version assigns portions of the sixteenth-note runs to various instruments in tandem, in the century since its composition the piece has become a standard showcase for solo instrumental virtuosity, whether on the original violin or on practically any other melodic instrument.

“Later while browsing the Internet, I found out that many music websites had included my video and introduced it as the fastest flute performance of the ‘Flight’. So with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Vahdat Hall, I recorded a standard video from the performance of the piece to send it to international organizations which register world records,” Gheitasi added.

In the ‘Tsar Saltan’ suite, the short version is commonly played, taking less than two minutes. In the Opera version, the three-minute fifty-five-second version is performed. However, Gheitasi has achieved a record of less than 45 seconds to play it.

“I have managed to perform ‘Flight’ in 44.850 seconds and I hope to register it in the Guinness Book of Records,” the flautist noted.

As stated in the press conference, it costs over $20,000 to invite Guinness officials to come to Iran to register Gheitasi’s record, a huge sum necessitating financial support from the Culture Ministry.

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