3 Sketches on Hebrew Themes
For Clarinet Quintet, Op.12
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 Three Sketches on Hebrew Themes for Clarinet Quintet, Op.12 is the first of a set of two, both from 1914. Here, Krein sets himself the task of introducing Jewish folk melody into a formal chamber music setting. In three movements, the opening Lento, has an elegiac quality and takes familiar, almost stereotypical, Hebraic material as its subject matter. The very impressive second movement, Andante, begins with the cello and then the clarinet playing over the tremolo of the other strings. Suddenly, a klezmer melody thrusts its way forward. Krein’s treatment is imaginative. The final movement, Allegro moderato, begins like something out of Fiddler on the Roof, with a fidgety dancing melody sung by the first violin and then the clarinet. Krein avoids sinking into cliché by introducing a warm cello melody and an exciting coda. Both works would be excellent in concert.
Parts & Score: $36.95