Khachaturian: Adagio

Gayne Ballet “Adagio” Composer: Khachaturian , Transcription: Gary Lloyd
Dave on the track in space
Dave in space running

(This is my transcription. It’s not exactly what the composer wrote, because he wrote this for orchestra, and with orchestra you have unlimited tone color. With piano you only have only 88 keys. That is the limitation, but also the challenge and in some cases the magic.)

Many years ago I went to see 2001, A Space “Odyssey”. This is the scene where Dave, the main human character, is running on an artificial track in a space station. The track is circular and the gravity comes from the spin of the module. He is all alone in space, and the music from Katchaturian plays, unedited and uncut. I remember hearing that and thinking: “Wow! That’s a few minutes of some of the most haunting music I’ve ever heard, and it fits perfectly with the movie.”

Decades I’m still in awe of this music. Now more than any time in the past I realize that movie sound tracks, 20th century “traditional” music and what we are hearing now, especially in computer game music and anime are amazing similar in chord structure, feel and structure. I’m also more and more positive that this is the real direction music is going in now. It’s smaller, intensely personal and things all of us can do in the quiet of night. It seems to me that many of us are empowered in a way we have never been before to create and then put it out into the world.

5 thoughts on “Khachaturian: Adagio

  1. I really like this piece and I’ve been wanting to watch this movie. The only thing stopping me is trying to get my siblings to watch it with me.

  2. My feelings are a love-hate, because there is both beauty and bleakness and richness. The gif with the purposeful purposeless running in a rotating “circle” in order to maintain life, order, and health – works with this extraordinary music.

    1. ..which is likely why Kubrick chose it. He had a thing about how to tie music and sound with picture — sometime to awesome, serious effect (2001) and sometime to o.O tragicomedy (Full Metal Jacket) and sometimes to full-on black comedy (Dr. Strangelove)

Leave a Reply