Aram Ilich Khachaturian’s Spartacus
Algis Zhuraitis, The Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
British readers of a certain age will know this music as the theme tune for The Onedin Line …but there’s nothing less sea-worthy or main-bracing about this ballet concerning the slaves’ revolt of 73BC (otherwise known as the Third Servile War), which is an entirely land-based drama! Slaves revolting against their overlords is, of course, a theme that would have appealed to the Soviet authorities of the 1950s… but who cares?! The music is great fun and immediately characteristic and flavourful.