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date: 24 January 2020

Krein family [Kreyn]locked

  • Jonathan Powell
  •  and Galina Grigor′yeva

Extract

[Kreyn]

Russian family of composers.

Jonathan Powell

(b Nizhniy Novgorod, 6/March 18, 1879; d Komarovo, nr Leningrad, Jan 6, 1955). He played the violin in a theatre orchestra in Tbilisi before entering the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied the instrument with Hřímaly and composition with Glière and Juon (1900–05). He then attended Reger's composition classes in Leipzig (1907–8). After teaching at the Moscow Conservatory, he lived for a while in Paris and Vienna (1926–34) where, with his son, he continued his studies. On his return to Russia, he held administrative positions. He shared with his brother Aleksandr an active interest in vernacular and sacred Jewish music, and a fascination with the work of Skryabin. However, from the outset Grigory's music distinguished itself from his brother's by its angularity, dense textures and terse, almost cerebral discourse: his harmonic language avoided explicit reliance on Jewish modes and chromatically altered dominant complexes. In several of the early piano works, languid diatonic themes develop to symphonic, highly chromatic climaxes; some of the op.5 preludes were written for Yelena Bekman-Shcherbina who gave the first performance of Skryabin's Sixth Sonata. Later works such as the Second Sonata combine impressionist colouring with an almost Expressionist harmonic language that convincingly incorporates melodic contours of ancient Jewish chant. With its fleeting glimpses of tonality amidst harmonic ambiguity, his mature language brought to Russian Jewish music a modernist European flavour....

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