Maya the bee
for orchestra & narrator

Robert Rival
Robert Rival
Composition Date: 2009
Duration: 00:25:00
Genre: Staged Vocal Works, Misc. Staged Musical Works,


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Horn
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 3 x Percussion
  • 1 x Harp
  • 1 x Narrator/Actor
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Narrator/Actor
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Programme Note:
Although not particularly well known in North America, Maya the Bee is a popular
character with children in many other parts of the world. She is the creation of German
author Waldemar Bonsels, who published The Adventures of Maya the Bee in 1912.
Not unlike Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince in scope, Bonsel’s original is clearly intended
for children, and yet, is poetic and philosophically dense enough to remain poignant for
adults. It depicts a world in which beetles fall in love with crickets, ants sing about their
own mortality, and creatures bite the heads off of one another in one moment and say
something wonderfully intelligent and sympathetic in the next. In this world, beauty and mortality live side by side without question or contradiction.
While earlier adaptations have focused primarily on preserving Bonsel’s plot or the
bravery and enthusiasm of little Maya herself, Tara Bahna-James’ adaptation differs in
that it attempts to retain the complexity of Bonsel’s themes. To achieve this with
concision, Bahna-James has condensed Bonsel’s original story line significantly and
introduced the character of the capricious wind. The result aspires to be an enchanting
children’s story, one that needs no further explanation for little ones, and yet, for others, invites further reflection and discussion.
In the score, inspired by Prokofiev’s classic Peter & the Wolf, each character is
associated with a distinct theme and instrument (or instruments). Maya is played by the strings, Cassandra by the oboe, Conrad by two bassoons, the spider by two flutes, the sparrow by the piccolo, and the hornets by the trombones and tuba. The capricious wind, the only character not in Bonsels’ original, is played by the clarinet. These themes, once introduced, are taken up by other instruments and variously combined to tell the story in music.

Commissioned by: Ottawa Youth Orchestra

Premiere Information:
03/02/2007 Centrepointe Theatre Ottawa Ottawa Youth Orchestra Conductor: John Gomez


  • Call Number:
  • MV 7700 R616ma
  • Genre:
  • Staged Vocal Works, Misc. Staged Musical Works,
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • June 18, 2012
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (125 p.) ;
    125 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: English
  • Additional Information:

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Maya the bee for orchestra & narrator: Score
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Maya the bee for orchestra & narrator by Robert Rival (Score)
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