piccolo, 2 flutes (II = piccolo 2), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets (II = Eb clarinet), bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, piccolo trumpet in D, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion (4 players), harp, celesta, strings
The title of this work refers to a distinctive rhythmic pattern found in Latin American music. I had, completely fortuitously, employed this kind of syncopated rhythm intermittently in previous pieces but, in the present work, it is much more prominently and extensively treated, undergoing transformation and development as the musical context changes. As in several of my works, the music’s harmonic style is encapsulated in a single chord which is here heard at the opening on the muted brass (echoed by other sections), then arpeggiated in the woodwind, then ‘spun out’ horizontally in a long line for all the violins in unison over a percussive backdrop. The rest of the work could be loosely described as a set of variations on this basic material.