Poém for String Quartet, Op.9
Alexander Krein (1883-1951) was the son of a well-known Klezmer musician. He entered the Moscow Conservatory at fourteen, taking composition lessons from Sergei Taneyev. Subsequently, he joined the Society for Jewish Folk Music and began to weave Hebraic melodies into the format of orthodox chamber works.
The Poém was composed in 1909 during a period when Krein was much taken with Scriabin's novel use of harmonic combinations as well as his ethereal form of expression. While the work is in one movement, it is comprised of several individual episodes and is as substantial as a typical string quartet. The Russian music scholar Leonid Sabaneiev describes the Poém as follows: : "It has a straight forward, simple melodic line which Krein combines with pungent harmonies. This is a grateful work for the perform by reason of its frank and unadorned but lyrical melodies." Unlike many of his other works, the Poém makes no use of Hebrew melodies, but combines the method of Scriabin with the romantic expression of the French impressionists.
The publishers of the original edition made it virtually impossible to perform because of page turn problems. While we have reprinted the original, we have eliminated this problem through judicious editing. A fine period work which is both suitable for concert as well as for amateur groups.