You’re listening to Sabre Dance composed by Aram Khachaturian in 1942. It’s a movement from the final act of his Ballet Gayanne, and has its basis in a traditional Armenian war dance…which involves lots of whirling about with sabres. Buffalo Sabres fans will know it as the team’s theme and warm-up song. And you might have heard it in variety shows, background to all manner of inane talents. Or in the films of Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers. Or in cartoons like Looney Tunes, the Simpsons and many more.
Khachaturian was renowned in the Soviet Union for his patriotic compositions as well, titles like “Song of Stalin,” and “Ode in Memory of Lenin”. But he managed to get in a bit of hot water with Soviet brass in 1949.