Everyone has heard at least the first 30 seconds of this piece - if not in a commercial, than in a movie or television show. Anyway, here is the rest along with a little blurb about it and the composer.
The "Sabre Dance" is a movement in the final act of the Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian's ballet Gayane, completed in 1942. It evokes a whirling war dance in an Armenian dance, where the dancers display their skill with sabres.
Aram Ilyich Khachaturian was born in Tiflis, Imperial Russia (now Tbilisi, Georgia) to a poor Armenian family. In his youth, he was fascinated by the music he heard around him, but at first he did not study music or learn to read it. In 1921 he travelled to Moscow to join his brother, the stage director of the Second Moscow Art Theatre. Although he had almost no musical education, Khachaturian showed such great talent that he was admitted to the Gnessin Institute where he studied cello.
In the 1930s, he married the composer Nina Makarova, a fellow student from Myaskovsky’s class. In 1951, he became professor at the Gnessin State Musical and Pedagogical Institute (Moscow) and the Moscow Conservatory. He also held important posts at the Composers' Union, which would later severely denounce some of his works as being “formalist” music, along with those of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich. These three composers became the so called "titans" of Soviet music, enjoying worldwide reputation as some of the leading composers of the 20th century.