Ken Harrison 4:30 p.m., Dec. 13
Sheath Thy Sword
The Sabre Dance is undoubtedly Aram Khachaturian's one-hit wonder.
The Sabre Dance is from his ballet Gayane which was written in 1942. In keeping with the patriotic program of the times, Gayane is set on a collective farm in Armenia. The original story is about a woman on the farm who discovers her husband has committed treason. She then struggles to resolve her personal feelings with her political convictions.
After the war ended, the story was modified over the years into something a little more romantic.
Khachaturian had a reputation of being something of a party conformist. He was a member of the Communist party and served on the board of the composers' union. He received several awards from the state for his music and was given the title of "Hero of Socialist Labor".
Of course, he was condemned along with Prokofiev and Shostakovitch in 1948.
Khachaturian's "and one" would have to be the Adagio from Spartacus.
I've mentioned this piece as one of the all-time sexiest pieces of music. It is interesting to listen to Spartacus and then listen to Shostakovitch or Prokofiev.
There is no way either of them would have written that music. Khachaturian was very much the populist. It could be that since he received his formal musical training later in life, after Armenia was annexed into The Union, he may not have had the desire to write progressive music.
In any case, the Sabre Dance is instantly recognized by almost everyone, and Spartacus is damn sexy.
There could be some good material in combining the phallic Sabre Dance with the sultry Adagio.