Spartacus (includes Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia)
Khachaturian's classic ballet is down two places in the Hall of Fame
Khachaturian was just hitting his fiftieth birthday when he produced his music to the ballet Spartacus. The plot of the ballet had been around for some fifteen years and was suggested to him by a critic called Volkov. The composer finally got to work 'with a feeling of enormous creative excitement', but his preparation had been nothing if not extensive. He'd had a blast of a trip around Italy, visiting the very places at the centre of the famous story of a slave rebellion.
Despite taking a fair few liberties with the plot, the ballet score won Khachaturian the Lenin Prize in 1954, and was premiered in what is now the Mariinsky Theatre, in St. Petersburg, just two years later.
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