"Sabre Dance" is considered one of the signature pieces of twentieth-century popular music. It was popularized by covers by pop artists, first in the U.S. and later in other countries such as the UK and Germany. Its use in a wide range of films and television series over the decades have significantly contributed to its renown.Sabre Dance has also been used by a number of figure skaters from at least five countries in their performances. Tom Huizenga of NPR describes it as "one of the catchiest, most familiar--perhaps most maddening--tunes to come out of the 20th century."Billboard magazine calls it "a piece that's known to every pops orchestra in existence."
Hit in the U.S.
In 1948 the "Sabre Dance" became a jukebox hit in the United States. Due to its popularity, Newsweek suggested that 1948 could be called "Khachaturian Year in the United States." In 1948, three versions of the "Sabre Dance" reached number one in the Billboard Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists:
These three versions were included in the Year's Top Selling Classical Artists by Billboard in 1948. The "Sabre Dance" became the first million-selling record of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. According to the Current Biography Yearbook, it was Levant's performance that "received popular attention."
The "Sabre Dance" has been used in numerous films, animated films, television series, video games, and commercials over the years, oftentimes for humorous effects. The piece's popular familiarity has been enhanced by its traditional use as accompaniment by travelling circuses and on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show when novelty acts such as plate spinners appeared.
^Robinson, Harlow (2013). "The Caucasian Connection: National Identity in the Ballets of Aram Khachaturian". In Kanet, Roger E. (ed.). Identities, Nations and Politics After Communism. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN9781317968665. ...particularly the "Sabre Dance," which became the single most recognized piece of Khachaturian...
^"Sabre Dance from Gayane". Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. The well-known "Sabre Dance" is one of these: an aggressive Armenian war-dance with flashing sabres brandished throughout. The outer sections are based upon a wild ostinato figure punctuated by trombone smears. There is a brief moment of contrast at the center, with a quotation of an Armenian folk song.
^In the documentary Khachaturian (2003, directed by Peter Rosen), Tigran Mansurian states: "What an interesting synthesis! He's taken a melody from Gyumri, an Armenian wedding dance tune ... and he's tied in a saxophone counterpoint that seems to come straight from America. The relationship between the two seems so organic, so interesting!" The film is available online hereArchived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. Mansurian appears at around 33:00.
^Adalian, Rouben Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 381. ISBN978-0-8108-7450-3. As for the Sabre Dance from Gayane, it has entered the realm of popular music as one of the 20th century's signature pieces.
^Staines, Joe (2010). The Rough Guide to Classical Music. Penguin. ISBN9781405383219. Filled with a sparkling array of folk-inspired tunes, its most famous episode, the manic "Sabre Dance", has had a life of its own, even materializing as a pop single.
^"Khachaturian: "Sabre Dance" from Gayaneh". University of North Georgia Department of Music. 15 October 2013. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. "The Sabre Dance" from the ballet suite Gayne [GUY-nuh] by Aram Khachaturian is by far this 20th Century Armenian composer's most famous work. Sabre Dance has been used in numerous films, animated films, TV series, video games and commercials over the years.
^"Casey At The Bat". Billboard. 15 September 2007. p. 103.
^"Soviets throw book at Beria". Life. New York. December 28, 1957. p. 17. Meanwhile a musical revolt was stirred up in Russia by Aram Khachaturian, one of the U.S.S.R.'s leading composers, who wrote the U.S. juke box favorite of 1948, Sabre Dance.
^Taruskin, Richard (2009). Music in the Late Twentieth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. p. 9. ISBN978-0-19-979600-7. Khachaturian .. famous in the West for some colorful concertos and a ballet suite containing a rousing "Sabre Dance" that became a jukebox hit.
^Petrak, Albert M., ed. (1985). "Khachaturian, Aram Ilyich". David Mason Greene's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers (1st ed.). Garden City, New York: Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation. pp. 1329-30. ISBN978-0-385-14278-6. Meanwhile its flashy "Sabre Dance" had conquered the U.S.S.R.'s new American allies and at one time was a standard on juke-boxes.
^"Juke-Box Red". Music. Newsweek. 31. New York. 1948. p. 72. ...the music agenda in this country shows plenty to indicate that 1948 may be Khachaturian Year in the United States.
^"Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists". Billboard. 10 April 1948. p. 30.
^"Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists". Billboard. 26 June 1948. p. 27.
^"Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists". Billboard. 10 April 1948. p. 39.
^"Retail Record Sales: Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists". Billboard. 15 May 1948. p. 25.
^"The Year's Top Selling Classical Artists Over Retail Counters". Billboard. 1 January 1949. p. 19.
^Hoffman, Frank, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, Volume 1: A-L. New York: Routledge. p. 184. ISBN978-0-203-48427-2.
^"Khachaturian, Aram". Current Biography Yearbook. New York: H. W. Wilson Company. 9: 345. 1949. The music is available on records, however, and as a result of its performance by Oscar Levant, the "Sabre Dance," a part of the suite, has received popular attention. Played in four-quarter rather than the three-quarter time in which it was written, "Sabre Dance" is "a juke-box sensation"; an adaptation, "Sabre Dance Boogie," has also been introduced.
^Loftus, Johnny. "Bond Classified". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. "Highly Strung," for example, tries to marry Khachaturian's manic Sabre Dance to spy movie guitar and chattering electronics, the result being more garishly cartoonish than interpretive.
^Maiorana, Sal (2012). 100 Things Sabres Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. Triumph Books. p. 22. ISBN9781623680152.
^Dunford, Jen; Bellas, Chrisanne (11 March 2011). "Opening the suggestion box". sabres.nhl.com. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. This signature song is still typically heard at various times during Sabres games, but many fans suggested a return to the tradition of playing the "Sabre Dance" when the team takes the ice. Beginning Sunday when the Sabres host the Senators, the song will be played when the team takes the ice prior to the second and third periods.
^Vogl, John (11 March 2011). "Sabres putting a fan imprint on arena". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved 2014. Two topics generated significant chatter: music and the team logo. The Sabres will change the tune for their television opening, going from the Scorpions' "Hurricane 2000" to old franchise favorite "Sabre Dance," performed by violinist Vanessa Mae.