The piece begins with the introduction of the two themes, with the building of the tarantella being interspersed with passages foretelling the fly and its demise.
This more abstract form leads into a chase, then subsequent capture of the fly. By letter ‘O’ the helpless fly is caught in the web getting stuck further and further as the tempo slows. Last flutterings come from piccolo trills. A solemn funeral march begins with the plaintive Cor Anglais taking the lead; the spider lurks in the background. The music reaches a dissonant climax and the section closes with a lament.
Our recurring horn call in augmented fifths sounds again but now at a livelier tempo, and the call is answered by a warm response from the trombones. The tarantella rhythm leads us to the finale in which I employ previous motifs, but within a new Lydian mode tonality, and this lifts us to a triumphant ending. ‘The ascent to heaven’, with its rising legato lines based on the former ‘fly motif’, shows us that after the hurry of life and the shock and sadness of death there are always far, far better things to come.