In 1989 William Sweeney recieved the commission and composed El pueblo, setting one of Pablo Neruda's most directly political (but never overtly propagandist) works. The piece, for baritone, 3 clarinets (all doubling bass-clar and one soprano sax), trombone, piano, percussion and double bass was premiered at the University by The Paragon Ensemble and David Davies. El pueblo was later recorded for release on the Continuum label alongside works by Lyell Cresswell and James MacMillan (also McEwen commissionees).

An excerpt from El pueblo