Apis Mellifera "Honey Bee" – Erik Wendelken


Apis mellifera “Honey Bee” was written to celebrate one of the hardest working species, the honey bee. The piece is written in two sections. Dissonant buzzing sections (sixteenth note trills) represent the working bees collecting nectar while pollinating the blooming plants. These sections are contrasted by a chorale which increases in length as the piece unfolds. The chorale sections represent the honey being produced in the hive. The composition ends when the chorale progression is complete. This multi-level piece allows for less experienced students to be able to perform with more advanced students.


Additional Score | Parts


A Celebration of Nature’s Industrious Insect – Apis Mellifera “Honey Bee” by Erik Wendelken

As a seasoned aficionado of concert band compositions, I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Erik Wendelken’s masterpiece, “Apis Mellifera – Honey Bee.” This remarkable composition stands as a testament to the dedication and hard work of the honey bee, all while exemplifying its versatility as a multi-level concert band piece.

Wendelken’s musical ingenuity shines brightly throughout the piece, as he skillfully weaves together two distinct sections, each depicting a vital aspect of the honey bee’s tireless journey. The dissonant buzzing sections, characterized by energetic sixteenth-note trills, artfully capture the essence of the working bees diligently collecting nectar and pollinating blooming plants. The music resonates with a vibrant sense of urgency, transporting both performers and listeners to the bustling activity of a bee-laden meadow.

Contrasting the dynamic buzz, the composition seamlessly transitions into a harmonious chorale that symbolizes the creation of the precious honey within the hive. The gradual extension of the chorale sections beautifully reflects the ongoing process of honey production, allowing the audience to appreciate the bees’ industrious efforts. The emotional depth embedded within these sections leaves an enduring impression, leaving one with a profound appreciation for the interconnectedness of nature.

What sets “Apis Mellifera – Honey Bee” apart from many other concert band pieces is its unique multi-level design. Wendelken’s thoughtful craftsmanship enables both less experienced and more advanced students to participate in this captivating performance. By tailoring the composition to cater to various skill levels, he fosters a sense of collaboration and inclusivity within the ensemble. This aspect of the piece is particularly commendable, as it empowers budding musicians to share the stage with their more experienced counterparts, promoting growth and camaraderie among the performers.

Also, the accessible yet challenging nature of the piece elevates the learning experience for all involved. Novice musicians have the opportunity to develop their skills while being guided by the more proficient musicians, fostering a supportive learning environment that enhances the overall quality of the performance.

Erik Wendelken’s “Apis Mellifera – Honey Bee” is a resounding success that captivates audiences with its evocative portrayal of the honey bee’s industrious journey. The composer’s ability to merge contrasting elements seamlessly and create a multi-level piece showcases his mastery of the craft. This composition serves not only as a delightful addition to any concert band’s repertoire but also as an educational tool that fosters collaboration, growth, and appreciation for the tireless efforts of nature’s tiny marvels, the honey bees. Whether you are a seasoned musician or a budding performer, “Apis Mellifera – Honey Bee” is a musical experience that will leave a lasting, positive impact.






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