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.