|Image via el Wik|
The Sochi Olympics opened with this as one of the songs in the opening ceremonies. They were showing off Russian composers, and Khachaturian is one of the Big Three (along with Prokofiev and Shostakovitch).
Khachaturian was from Tsarist (and later, Soviet) Armenia, born just after the turn of the 20th Century. An early adopter of communism, he was active in the revolutionary propaganda effort for the Armenian S.S.R. from around 1920. This gave him a ticket to Moscow where his entirely untrained but prodigious musical talent was soon apparent. By 1930 he was at the Moscow Conservatory, and wrote his first symphony soon after.
Say what you will about the Soviet Union, they produced some fine music in the early days. But those days were not to last. 1948 saw the Zhdanov decree which condemned Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, and Khachaturian as "formalist" and "anti-popular". By this time all three had world wide reputations as the titans of Soviet music yet, in the twilight of Stalin's madness all were forced to publicly apologize.
Say what you will about the Soviet Union, they sure knew how to take a step or two backwards after a step forwards.
Khachaturian was a true believer in communism, and this hit him hard. While not only was there a Gulag in his future, he continued being awarded Stalin Prizes. But the heart went out of him, and really his best work is past by 1950. The injustice of the situation was insurmountable for him. This year's Olympic opening ceremonies sort of skated past this bit.
But the music is superb, and you easily may know this by heart. But this is the Sabre Dance (from the ballet Gayane*), and so edged weapons are de rigeur. I recommend that you watch this in full screen mode to see the spinning death.
Like I said, you want to attract young boys to the ballet, show them this.
Note that I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you like this music and are interested in buying it, please consider hitting this link. There's no extra cost to you. This album has a bunch of his best known works on it, including not just this but Spartacus as well. I quite like the MP3 Amazon option.
* Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just don't talk to Russian children about it.