sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

June 10, 2012

The Sabre Dance Swing

Filed under: music — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:32 am

As my readers probably noticed, I don’t post music videos often, but Andrew’s Sister take on The Sabre Dance by the great Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian is practically begging to be blogged:

Why, I didn’t know Sabre Dance had lyrics!  Granted, this is not the best lyrics in the history of popular music, but they’ll do.

I have a soft spot for artists that take a music piece out of context and make it work within a completely different aesthetic — just like the video above.  Khachaturian’s piece is rhythmic and has a lot of character, so I suppose it lends itself easily to a pop cover.  And while in theory any catchy upbeat 4/4 beat can be made into a swell swing number, and it takes a band of Andrews Sisters caliber to do it right.  The video is a bit goofy with the ladies obviously lip-syncing, but I love the choreography.

Andrews Sisters recorded their version of The Sabre Dance in 1947, at the tail end of the  Swing era.  Their harmonies are beautiful, voices serene and it’s curious note that the Khachaturian’s score, if we are to remain faithful to his aesthetic, calls for a much noisier performance.  Here is an undated nameless version I found on Youtube:

It was a part of Gayaneh ballet, and I suspect the performance was recorded in the Soviet days.  It’s amazing to see how much more abstract the [probably] Soviet version feels.  DH likes to say that pop music is several decades behind classical.  Gayaneh was composed 1939-41, and in the Soviet Union of all places. It took your average Western consumer of pop culture half a century to catch up.

06/11/2012 CORRECTIONS:

1. The Khachaturian ballet recording that I judged to be from the Soviet days is actually a 2010 Vaganova Ballet School graduation performance.

2. DH is known to say that rock-n-roll, not pop culture is several decades behind classical.  Shame on me for misquoting my own husband.



  1. apologies for off topic post, but this thing about “krasnals v. femen” reminded me of you. Who the heck are the krasnals, and what’s their beef with femen, LOL?

    Packers arrive tomorrow. I’m neck deep in sorting and prepacking and stockpiling the “don’t pack!” area. Good times . . . .


    Comment by nooneofanyimport — June 10, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    • That’s hilarious! I thought something was going on in Poland from the quires I was getting. Heh! I don’t really have any additional insight on the Polish group… I don’t read Polish.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — June 12, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  2. Hmmm! I’m not sure American pop culture has caught up. The second video fits the music much better, in my opinion.

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — June 11, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    • I agree, there is more depth to classical. What DH meant by catching up, is getting the concepts like dissonance.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — June 12, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

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