Hot Buttered Rumba (1996)

Concert Overture for Orchestra

Duration:  6 minutes
May be performed with Piñata and Tango di Tango
in a three-movement Latin dance suite under the title Trilógica

Version for Piano Solo available (last movement of Aspen Sketches)
– see Chamber Music

Commissioned by The Orange County Performing Arts Center

Premiere Performance:  September 8, 1996; The Pacific Symphony;
Carl St. Clair, Conductor


Six effervescent minutes of Cuban dance energy… a little tipsy… with its bright Bernsteinian harmonies, its supple Latin dance rhythms and its controlled sexy dynamic swells and retards.  There is a good deal of hidden skill to making a piece like this, and also to making it work in performance… pure joy.
          Mark Swed,
          Los Angeles Times

It was teeming with wit, lyrical energy and vibrant Afro-Cuban rhythms. It is a parody that delights, rather than denigrates…As a clever entertainment, it made you smile, but it was so artfully executed by Rodríguez, it also made you think.
           Jennifer Goltz,
           The Orange County

Program Note:

Festive and light-hearted in character, Hot Buttered Rumba  employs the traditional Afro-Cuban dance rhythm with accents on one, four and seven in an eight-beat pattern.  Structurally, the work consists of alternating variations on two short related themes:  one in major key, one in minor. 

In a contrasting middle section the driving rumba rhythm begins to waver as the composer playfully depicts the intoxicating influence of the celebrated beverage which gives the work its title.  After some tipsy rhythmic wobbles and a gleeful outburst of orchestral glissandi, the rumba regains its former footing and roars to a brilliant conclusion.  The musical language of Hot Buttered Rumba is tonal, with affectionate evocations of traditional rumba rhythmic and melodic motifs.