I started somewhat hazily working on the music, not knowing if it had the right tone, and pretty soon I realised it wouldn't work at all for the opera - it was a parody of what I imagined Chinese movie music of the '30s sounded like. ...[a] vast fantasy of a slightly ridiculous but irresistable image of a youthful Mao Tse Tung dancing the foxtrot with his mistress Chiang Ch'ing, former movie queen and the future Madame Mao, the mind and spirit behind the Cultural Revolution and the strident, unrehabilitated member of the Gang of Four.
Formally,The Chairman Dances is in three parts, A-B-A, with a persistent, chugging pulse in the basses marking the outer sections. Romance makes an appearance in the central, slower section.
Read David Stabler's note and listen to a clip of The Chairman Dances on MeetTheMusic.org from the American Symphony Orchestra League.