a fly in the ointment

Full Orchestra – 2.2.2.2: 2.2.2.0: Timp.2Perc: Strings

I have many fond memories of caravanning whilst growing up. This piece is about a recurrent family holiday experience. Flies, bugs and insects are all a typical part of campsite life, however it is nighttime that these really come into their element. They provide frequent and varied interjection and irritation, with an evening fly hunt needed to ensure an undisturbed sleep. This is not as easy as it may seem; flies escape once captured, gang up together and appear from where you least expect them. Like ‘a fly in the ointment’, these interjections are often sudden, hidden annoyances that can spoil a situation. On the other hand camping wouldn’t be the same without them, with the satisfaction of finishing off a particularly evasive swarm or the relief when finally catching that last fly.

January 2016.

Performed by BBC SSO. Note Performer Recording.