born on 21/6/1899 in Brünn (Brno), Jihomoravsky Kraj, Czechia
died on 17/10/1944 in KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau, Województwo malopolskie, Poland
Pavel Haas (21 June 189917 October 1944) was a Czech composer who was murdered during the Holocaust. He was an exponent of Leo Janáek's school of composition, and also utilized elements of folk music and jazz. Although his output was not large, he is notable particularly for his song cycles and string quartets.
Haas was born in Brno, into a Jewish family. His father, Zikmund, a shoemaker by trade, was from the Moravian region; while his mother, Olga (née Epstein), was born in Odessa. After studying piano privately, Haas began his more formal musical education at the age of 14, and studied composition at the Brno Conservatory from 1919 to 1921 under Jan Kunc and Vilém Petrelka. This was followed by two years of study in the master class of the noted Czech composer Leo Janáek. Janáek was far and away Haas's most influential teacher, and Haas, in turn, proved to be Janáek's best student. In 1935 he married Soa Jakobson, the former wife of Russian linguist Roman Jakobson.
Of the more than 50 works Haas wrote during the next two decades, only 18 were given opus numbers by the self-critical composer. While still working in his father's business, he wrote musical works of all kinds, including symphonic and choral works, lieder, chamber music, and scores for cinema and theatre. His opera, arlatán (The Charlatan), was first performed in Brno to sincere acclaim in April 1938. He received the Smetana Foundation award for the opera (sharing the award with Vítzslava Kaprálová who received it for her Military Sinfonietta).
In 1941, Haas was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp (Terezín). He was one of several Czech-Jewish composers there, including Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein and Hans Krása. Prior to his arrest, he had officially divorced his wife Soa in order that she and their young daughter would not suffer a similar fate. On his arrival, he became very depressed and had to be coaxed into composition by Gideon Klein. Haas wrote at least eight compositions in the camp, only a few of which have survived. They include a set of Four Songs on Chinese Poetry for baritone and piano, a work for men's choir titled "Al s'fod" (his first and only work in Hebrew), and the Study for String Orchestra which was premiered in Theresienstadt under the Czech conductor Karel Anerl and is probably Haas's best-known work today. The orchestral parts were found by Anerl after the liberation of Theresienstadt and the score was reconstructed.
In 1944 the Nazis remodeled Theresienstadt just before a visit from the Red Cross, and a propaganda film, Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt (The Führer Gives the Jews a City), was made by director Kurt Gerron, under the coercion of the camp commandant, Karl Rahm. In the film, Theresienstadt, children are seen singing Hans Krása's opera, Brundibár, and Haas can be seen taking a bow after a performance, conducted by Karel Anerl, of his Study for Strings. When the propaganda project was over, the Nazis transferred 18,000 prisoners, including Haas and the children who had sung in Brundibár, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered in the gas chambers. According to the testimony of Karel Anerl, Haas stood next to him after their arrival at Auschwitz. Doctor Mengele was about to send Anerl to the gas chamber first, but the weakened Haas began to cough, so the death sentence was therefore chosen for him, instead. After the war Anerl met with Haas's brother Hugo and told him the story.
Haas's large-scale symphony, which he began prior to his deportation to Theresienstadt, remained unfinished, but the surviving torso was orchestrated by Zdenk Zouhar in 1994. Haas's music, stemming from Bohemian and Moravian roots, is sometimes tinted by Hebrew melody.
Haas has been described as "a reserved but eloquent student of Janáek" by Alex Ross in his history of classical music in the 20th century, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.
His brother Hugo Haas (1901-1968) was a popular actor in pre-war Czechoslovakia.
Principal publishers: Boosey & Hawkes, Bote & Bock, Sádlo, Tempo
|Genre||Opus||Date composed||Czech title||English title||Scoring||Notes|
|Vocal||1||1918-1919||est písní v lidovém tónu||6 Songs in Folk Tone||for soprano and piano||orchestrated 1938|
|Vocal||2||1919-1920||Ti písn||3 Songs||for soprano and piano||words by Josef Svatopluk Machar|
|Chamber music||3||1920||Smycový kvartet . 1||String Quartet No. 1 in C♯ minor||for2 violins, viola and cello|
|Vocal||4||1919||ínské písn||Chinese Songs||for medium voice and piano||words by Kao Shi, Tsui Hao, Thu Fu|
|Orchestral||5||1921||Zesmutnlé scherzo||Scherzo triste||for orchestra|
Fata morgana Klavírní kvintet |
se sólovým zpvákem tenorového hlasu
|Fata morgana||for tenor, 2 violins, viola, cello and piano||words by Rabindranath Tagore|
|Chamber music||7||1925||Smycový kvartet . 2 Z opiích hor||String Quartet No. 2 From the Monkey Mountains||for2 violins, viola and cello|
|Vocal||8||1927||Vyvolená||The Chosen One||for tenor, flute, horn, violin and piano||poems by Jií Wolker|
|Choral||9||1928-1929||Karneval||Carnival||for male chorus||words by Dalibor Chalupa|
|Chamber music||10||1929||Dechový kvintet||Wind Quintet||for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon|
|Orchestral||11||1931||Pedehra pro rozhlas||Overture for Radio||for orchestra|
|Choral||12||1932||alm 29||Psalm XXIX||for baritone, female chorus and chamber orchestra with organ|
|Film score||1933||ivot je pes||Life Is a Dog||for orchestra||music for the film|
|Film score||1934||Mazlíek||The Little Pet||for orchestra||music for the film|
|Piano||13||1935||Suita pro klavír||Suite||for piano|
|Opera||14||1936||arlatán||The Charlatan||for soloists, chorus and orchestra||opera in 3 acts; libretto by the composer|
|Film score||1937||Kvona||Mother-Hen||for orchestra||music for the film|
|Piano||1937||Allegro moderato||Allegro moderato||for piano|
|Chamber music||15||1937-1938||Smycový kvartet . 3||String Quartet No. 3||for2 violins, viola and cello|
|Chamber music||17||1939||Suita pro hoboj a klavír||Suite||for oboe and piano|
|Vocal||18||1940||Sedm písní v lidovém tónu||7 Songs in Folk Style||for high voice and piano||words by Frantiek elakovský|
|Orchestral||1940-1941||Symfonie||Symphony||for orchestra||unfinished; orchestration completed by Zdenk Zouhar|
|Choral||1942||Al s'fod||Do Not Lament||for male chorus||words by David Shimoni|
|Orchestral||1943||Studie pro smycový orchestr||Study||for string orchestra|
tyi písn na slova ínské poezie ||
4 Songs on Chinese Poetry ||for bass (or baritone) and piano||poems by Wei Jing-wu, Wang-wei, Tchang Tiou-ling, Han I|
|Vocal||The Advent||for mezzo-soprano, tenor and quintet|
|Fantasy on a Jewish Melody|
|Piano||Partita in Olden Style||for piano||lost|
|Vocal||Ti skladby||3 Pieces||for mezzo-soprano, tenor, flute, clarinet, 2 violins, viola and cello||lost|
|Concertante||Variace pro klavír a smycový orchestr||Variations||for piano and string orchestra|
- arlatán (complete opera) Prague Philharmonic Choir, Prague State Opera Orchestra, Israel Yinon (conductor); Decca Record Company 460 042-2 (1998)
- Pavel Haas: Orchestral Music Staatsphilharmonie Brünn, Israel Yinon (conductor); Koch Schwann (1997)
- Scherzo triste, Op. 5
- Charlatan (opera suite), Op. 14
- Symphonie (unfinished)
- Janáek/Haas/Szymanowski: String Quartets Arranged for String Orchestra Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti (conductor); Chandos CD 10016
- String Quartet No. 2 "Z opiích hor", Op. 7
- Pavel Haas: String Quartets 1-3 (Czech Degenerate Music, Volume 2) Kocian Quartet; Praga Productions 250 118 (1998)
- Haas and Janáek String Quartets Pavel Haas Quartet, Supraphon SU 3922-2
- String Quartet No. 1 in C-sharp minor, Op. 3
- String Quartet No. 3, Op. 15
- Pavel Haas: Bläserquintett, Suiten Op. 13 Op. 17, Vyvolená Jörg Dürmüller (tenor), Dennis Russell Davies (piano), Stuttgarter Bläserquintet; Orfeo International Music C 386 961 A (1996)
- Wind Quintet, Op. 10
- Suite for Piano, Op. 13
- Suite for Oboe and Piano, Op. 17
- Vyvolená, Op. 8
- Chamber Music of Pavel Haas Ensemble Villa Musica; MD&G 304 1524-2
- Wind Quintet, Op. 10
- Suite for Oboe and Piano, Op. 17
- String Quartet No. 3, Op. 15
- Risonanza Vilém Veverka (oboe), Ivo Kahánek (piano); Supraphon SU 3993-2
- Suite for Oboe and Piano
- Music from Theresienstadt Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone), Russell Ryan (piano); Bridge Records 9280
- 4 Songs after Words of Chinese Poetry
- 4 Songs on Chinese Poetry, sung by Christian Gerhaher, appear on a CD Terezín/Theresienstadt initiated by Anne Sofie von Otter, Deutsche Grammophon, 2007.
- KZ Musik: Encyclopedia of Music Composed in Concentration Camps, Volume 4 Petr Matsuszek (baritone), Francesco Lotoro (piano); KZ Music 231787
- Four Chinese Songs
The whole music written in Concentration Camps (including P. Haas's Study for Orchestra, 4 Chinese Songs and Al s'fod) are contained in the CD-Encyclopedia KZ MUSIK created by Francesco Lotoro (Musikstrasse Roma- Membran Hamburg), 2007
Haas in Literature
Haas is a central character in David Herter's First Republic trilogy, comprising the novels On the Overgrown Path, The Luminous Depths and One Who Disappeared.
- Sadie, S. (ed.) (1980) The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, [vol. # 8].
- Ross, A. (2007) The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
- Matjková, J. Hugo Haas. ivot je pes Prague: Nakladatelství XYZ, 2005. ISBN 80-86864-18-9
- Free scores by Pavel Haas in the International Music Score Library Project
- Pavel Haas at the Internet Movie Database
- Pavel Haas at the Czech Music Information Centre.
- Pavel Haas, a brief biographical entry on the Boosey and Hawkes site
- Comprehensive discography of Terezin Composers by Claude Torres
- Music and the Holocaust - Pavel Haas
- Further reading and listening on Terezín: The Music 1941-44
- Pavel Haas Chamber Orchestra