Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929

By Larry Sitsky | Go to book overview

15
Aleksandr A. Krein: Voice in the Wilderness

Aleksandr Abramovich Krein (also given as Kreyn) was born in Nizhniy-Novgorod (Gorki under the Soviet regime) on October 20, 1883 and died in Moscow on April 21, 1951. Krein's father, Abraham ( 1838-1921), was a violinist (known as a klezmer in Yiddish) and specialized in folk music; his elder brother, David ( 1869-1926), was the leader of the Bolshoi orchestra and a prominent pedagogue at the Moscow Conservatoire; another brother, Grigoriy, and Grigoriy's son were both composers (see Chapters 16 and 17). By the age of seven Krein had already begun to compose. He entered the Moscow Conservatoire in 1897 and graduated as a violinist in 1907, from the studio of A. Glehn. He also studied theory and composition with B. L. Yavorsky, A. N. Koreshchenko, and L. W. Nikolaev. From 1912 to 1917 he was appointed to the staff at the Conservatoire in Moscow, becoming a fully fledged professional by the time of the Revolution, and he had already composed a respectable body of works embodying ancient and modern Jewish sources. After 1917 he worked with the Habimah ( Jewish State Theaters), creating incidental music for more than ten productions in Moscow, Belorussiya, and the Ukraine. From 1918 to 1922 he held various positions in the State Music Department, working on composition part-time; from 1918 to 1920 he was Secretary for Modern Music in the Commission for Folklore, and from 1922 he acted as a member of the editorial board of the State Publishing House. After leaving the Moscow Conservatoire, he continued composition studies at the Moscow Philharmonic School of Music, working with A. N. Koreshchenko and S. V. Protopopov. His early compositions showed the immediate influence of Scriabin, whom Krein knew personally, as well as S. I. Taneev. As his work matured, it became clear that Krein was a kind of spiritual descendant of the "Mighty Five," considering his interest in the use of folk music, orientalism (in his case, his own Jewish heritage), and the idea of a "school" of composers.

The output encompasses a huge variety of genres. Justly, Krein is considered, with composers like Gnessin, Saminsky, and Veprik, to be one of the founders of the Russian Jewish School. Asafiev considered Krein to be the greatest Jewish composer of that assemblage. Krein first attracted attention with a symphonic work, "Salome," in which, according to Montagu-Nathan, he revealed "an ever increasing emotional power, and a harmonic richness that comes from the composer's own feeling, as much as from any outside force." Krein's music was performed at concerts given by the ACM, and attracted some good press. It was not until 1921 that Krein associated

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Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 1
  • Bibliography 7
  • Part I - The Precursors 10
  • 2 - Vladimir I. Rebikov: The Inventor of Whole-Tone Music 10
  • Bibliography 25
  • 3: Aleksei V. Stanchinskiy 27
  • Part II - The Big Three 38
  • 4 - Nikolai A. Roslavets: The Russian Schoenberg 38
  • Bibliography 58
  • 5: Aleksandr V. Mosolov 60
  • 6: Arthur V. Lourié 87
  • Part III - The Smaller Five 111
  • 7 - Leonid A. Polovinkin: The Partial Avant-Gardist 111
  • Bibliography 132
  • 8 - Vladimir V. Shcherbachev: Old Wine in New Vessels 133
  • 9: Lev K. Knipper 149
  • 10: Boris N. Liatoshinski 158
  • 11 - Vladimir M. Deshevov: The Man of the Theater 171
  • Part IV - The Reluctant Avant-Gardists 183
  • 12 - Samuil E. Feinberg: The Post-Scriabin Pianist 183
  • Bibliography 198
  • 13: Anatoliy N. Aleksandrov 199
  • 14 - Boris A. Aleksandrov: Son of the Composer of the Soviet Anthem 216
  • Part V 217
  • 15: Aleksandr A. Krein 219
  • 16 - Grigoriy A. Krein: Toward Assimilation 225
  • Bibliography 229
  • 17 - Yulian G. Krein: Precocious Cosmopolitan 235
  • 18 - The Ukrainian Bartók and Bloch 241
  • 19: Mikhail F. Gnessin 242
  • Part VI 248
  • 20 248
  • 21: Nikolai Obukhov 254
  • 22: Iosif M. Schillinger 264
  • 23: Aleksandr N. Tcherepnine 273
  • Part VII 283
  • 24 283
  • 25: Leonid L. Sabaneev 291
  • 26 - Dmitriy M. Melkikh: Rhapsodist 309
  • 27: Gavrill N. Popov 310
  • 28: Aleksei S. Zhivotov 318
  • 29: Efim Golyshchev 323
  • 30 - Georgi M. Rimsky-Korsakov: Microtonist 328
  • Appendix: Further Scores for Study and Reference 329
  • Index 343
  • About the Author 349
  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Music and Dance 351
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