The solo part captures the atmosphere of an Irish jig with a harmonically straightforward piano accompaniment, using a mixture of ‘vamping’ and melodic imitation.
The introduction is deliberately harmonically misleading. It starts in F minor, but is immediately contradicted by remote chords, openly parodying the ‘cowboy’ music of Aaron Copland. Modal harmony helps to create the mood of pseudo-folk music.
The main theme starts in the unexpected key of D minor, the instruments taking turns to present the melody, with the piano vamping for the most part.
An angular counter-melody is added when the introductory music returns, leading to the second theme, still in D minor, based largely on arpeggios and scales. The harmony modulates sequentially and builds up to a key change to E minor, which presents the first theme unexpectedly softly, in keeping with the humour of the piece.
The recap here is contracted before the climax, where the soloist plays decorative triplets against a strong augmented statement of the main theme in the lower piano.
After a final reference to the introductory material, the piece finishes with a lively upward flourish.