Aram Khachaturian – Adagio (Invention) from Gayaneh (Solo Piano)

Aram Khachaturian – Adagio (Invention) from Gayaneh (Solo Piano Version)

Aram Khachaturian – Adagio (Invention) from Gayaneh (Solo Piano Version) with sheet music available in our online Library (

Gayane (Gayaneh or Gayne, the e is pronounced; Armenian: Գայանե) is a four-act ballet with music by Aram Khachaturian. Originally composed in or before 1939, when it was first produced (in Yerevan) as Happiness. Revised in 1941–42 to a libretto by Konstantin Derzhavin and with choreography by Nina Aleksandrovna Anisimova (Derzhavin’s wife),:133–34 the score was revised in 1952 and in 1957, with a new plot. The stage design was by Nathan Altman (scenery) and Tatyana Bruni (costumes).

The first performance took place on 9 December 1942, staged by the Kirov Ballet while in Perm, Russia, during the Second World War evacuation, and was broadcast on the radio.:57 The principal dancers were: Natalia Dudinskaya (Gayane), Nikolai Zubkovsky (Karen), Konstantin Sergeyev (Armen), Tatanya Vecheslova (Nune), and Boris Shavrov (Giko).

The conductor was Pavel Feldt.:59 The most famous parts of the ballet are the “Sabre Dance”, which has been performed by many (including pop artists), and the “Adagio”, which featured prominently in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Khachaturian’s original Gayane was the story of a young Armenian woman whose patriotic convictions conflict with her personal feelings on discovering her husband’s treason. In later years the plot was modified several times, the resultant story emphasizing romance over nationalistic zeal.

The ballet, based on an earlier ballet composed in 1939 by Khachaturian called Happiness,:127 was created when the Kirov ballet was in Perm. Khachaturian started composing the score in autumn 1941 and the ballet was first mounted on 3 December 1942 on the small stage of the Perm state theatre.

Despite these limitations, the effect was profound; in effect, the message was that the company was continuing to exist and to produce new ballets, despite the very hard times. Anisimova invited different dancers to participate in her ballet, dancers who happened to be in the city at that time; there was a sense of camaraderie and combined effort which suited the positive feeling of the ballet itself. The composition, the music, the dancing, all together created something which, regardless of the weaknesses in the libretto, expressed the triumph of dancing and its many different possibilities.

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