Aleksandr Grechaninov

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grechaninov, Aleksandr Tikhonovich


Born Oct. 13 (25), 1864, in Moscow; died Jan. 4. 1956, in New York. Russian composer.

The son of a merchant, Grechaninov studied at the conservatories in Moscow (1881–90, under V. I. Safonov. A. S. Arensky. and S. I. Taneev) and St. Petersburg (1890–93, under N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov). He taught music theory in the Gnesiny’s music school in Moscow and later directed the children’s choir at T. L. Berkman’s school. He participated in the work of the Musical-Ethnologic Commission at Moscow University.

Grechaninov’s choral and chamber vocal works, as well as his arrangements of folk songs, have the greatest significance. He made an important contribution to children’s music, composing three operas, songs, choruses, and piano pieces for children. He wrote the music for the Moscow Art Theater’s performances of works, including Tsar Fedor loannovich (1898) and The Death of loann the Terrible (1899). Among his works are the opera-bylina (epic folk song) Dobrynia Nikitich (1901, presented in 1903). which was composed in lyric song and art song style, and the opera-legend Sister Beatrice (based on M. Maeterlinck’s work, 1910, presented in 1912), which shows some influence of symbolism. Grechaninov also composed the comic opera Marriage (based on N. V. Gogol’s work, 1946, staged in 1948) and orchestral and chamber instrumental works. After 1925 he lived abroad, first in Paris and after 1939 in the USA. In 1943, under the influence of the Soviet Army’s victories, Grechaninov wrote the symphonic poem “To Victory” (words by A. S. Pushkin and Grechaninov).


Moia muzykal’naia zhizn’. Paris, 1934.
My Life. Introduction and translation by N. Slonimsky. New York, 1952.


Aleksandrov, Iu. “Stranitsy zhizni.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1964, no. 10.
Nelidova-Faveiskaja, L. “Poslednie gody.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1964. no. 10.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Fans of the rich, reverent choral works of Alexander Gretchaninov (1864-1956) may be surprised by the two fun-loving duets that come from one of his sets of children's songs.
The Alveston concert on June 16 features ancient chants and folksongs, and also includes more modern works by Tchaikovsky and his lesser-known compatriot Alexander Gretchaninov. It will be directed by the choir's founder Anatoly Grindenko.
The choral works of another relatively unknown Russian composer, Alexander Gretchaninov, who died in exile in New York in 1956, are now available in a new CD from HYPERION: Gretchaninov Vespers (CDA 67080).
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