This composition began as a sketch for the finale of an unfinished opera about
the Amazon queen Penthesilea.
Pompey the Great reported that Mithridate’s army included Amazon warriors, so,
in this fictional opera, Penthesilea (Penny) acts as their leader.
At the end of the opera, Penny organises a party in which the male and
female members of the army are set apart as rivals, one accompanied by
timpani group 1 to the left of the stage and the other by timpani group 2 to the right of the stage,
with the other instruments spread across the stage.