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Moiseiwitsch plays Khachaturian / Levant "Sabre Dance"

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Published on Apr 27, 2010

Khachaturian Sabre Dance from Gayane ballet , transcribed for piano by Oscar Levant, recorded in 1948.

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After a stay in Yerevan, Armenia in 1939, Khachaturian composed the ballet "Happiness". Using material from this ballet, Khachaturian radically rewrote it, thereby creating the ballet, Gayane (or spelled as Gayne, Gayaneh, Gayané) in 1942 in Molotov, after USSR entered World War II. Some aspects of the ballet hint to political and patriotic issues regarding the war.

During this time, Soviet literature and art contributed greatly to the Soviet people's Great Patriotic War. In 1943, Khachaturian joined the Communist Party whose ideals he had long been expounding as a musician. In his own words :
"Soviet songs are a fighting weapon and it is our duty to forge this weapon with all the passion, responsibility, knowledge, and talent at our disposal. We shall give the front songs throbbing with wrath and fury, songs of revenge, songs of victory, and songs of glory worthy of our Soviet soldiers."

Gayane is based on the story of a heroine named Gayane. The setting for the play is on a cotton farm in Armenia. Gayane is married to Giko, who maltreats her. Gayane denounces her husband, the Red Army eventually arrests Giko and he is later imprisoned. Because of this, Gayane could end her marriage with Giko and she later marries Kasakov; their wedding provides the happy ending, the climax of which is the "Sabre Dance".

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Quoting Oscar Levant:
- Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.
- It's not what you are but what you don't become that hurts.
- My psychiatrist once said to me, "Maybe life isn't for everyone..."

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