Grigoriy A. Krein:
Grigoriy Abramovich Krein was born in Nizhniy-Novgorod (Gorki under the Soviet regime) on March 6, 1879 and died in Repino on January 6, 1955. He is a brother of Aleksandr Krien. First taught by his father, who was a violinist and enthusiast for Jewish music, just before the turn of the century Grigoriy played in the pit orchestra in Tbilisi. Between 1900 and 1905 he studied the violin in Moscow with I. V. Grzhimali, and composition with R. M. Gliere and Paul Juon. In 1907-1908 he went to Leipzig and studied at the Conservatoire there with Max Reger. Until 1917 he taught theory and violin in Moscow, and between 1926 and 1934 he travelled with his son, the composer Yulian Krein, to Vienna and Paris to further both their studies. In 1939- 1940 he returned to an administrative role in organizing concerts throughout the Soviet Union.
Grigoriy produced chamber music of fine quality. His scores are more intellectual, more virile, but at times less inspired than those of his brother. The influence of Scriabin is very clear, together with that of the French impressionists. His works of the 1920s and 1930s owe much to their Jewish content. Sabaneev wrote about him (in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music), "He is a daring and intrepid pioneer in harmonic discovery, but one whose innovations, on account of his unwillingness to make any concessions to the taste of the masses, failed to attract and made no further advance. His compositions are extremely difficult, but reveal a powerful talent."
Even a cursory glance at the opening of Grigoriy Krein's Second Sonata for piano, from 1924, establishes immediately that the music is harmonically more daring than that of his brother (Figure 16.1); this is borne out later in the work as well (Figure
16.2). No key signatures are employed, but pianistically the writing is more restrained.