In 1909, Ralph Vaughan Williams composed incidental music for a production of Arisophanes' "The Wasps" at Trinity College, Cambridge. From the complete incidental music composed, a shorter suite of movements is frequently performed by orchestras today, and of that suite, the Overture is the most popular. The trills at the beginning are meant to emulate the buzzing of wasps, although the piece otherwise has nothing to do with these insects.



  • 6 C Flutes (Flute 2 doubles on Piccolo)
  • 2 Alto Flutes
  • Bass Flute
  • Contrabass Flute