This exciting overture has a fast section that alternates between 7/8 and 13/8 time and rhythmically active percussion parts. The middle section is slower, and written like a Bach chorale. It quotes a slightly altered version of On Springfield Mountain (also called The Pesky Serpent), which is one of the oldest American folk songs. The song tells the story of a young couple who are killed by a rattlesnake. In this setting, the couple survive leading to a tongue-in-cheek ending celebrating their victory over the snake.