Haas–Hindemith

Pavel Haas
Paul Hindemith

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Concuctor: Robert Jindra

National Theatre Orchestra

Concertmaster: Ondřej Haas
Flute: Daniel Havel
Oboe: Vratislav Vlna
Clarinet: Jan Hejhal 
Bassoon: Jan Hudeček
Harp: Barbora Váchalová

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Pavel Haas: Studio per orchestra d´archi
Paul Hindemith: Concerto for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp and orchestr

Pavel Haas spent his last years in Theresienstadt. He was sent there after the German occupation of the Czech lands in December of 1941. In the first few months, Haas had great difficulty coping with his internment. Long periods of inactivity were punctuated by periods of feverish work, which served to place him among the most active of Theresienstadt composers. Evidence shows that from the second half of 1942 until the fall of 1944, Haas composed seven works, of which three are still extant. One of them is the composition Study for String Orchestra. At the first performance of Haas's composition, an estimated 30 musicians played in Karel Ančerle's string orchestra, which is reflected in the surviving recording of the concert for the film Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet (propaganda film showing life in the Jewish ghetto, 1945). Although the shot is not always clear, it has significant documentary value - Pavel Haas thanking also appears in the shot in the film. Two days after the propaganda film was made, all the actors, along with another 2,500 fellow prisoners, were deported to Auschwitz. After the war, the conductor and fellow prisoner Karel Ančerl managed to save copies of almost all parts, with the exception of the double bass. Lubomír Peduzzi (Haas student) composed this part and in 1959 made a copy of the score of the composition.

text by doc. PhDr. Lubomí Spurný PhD., access here

One of the great figures featured within the Musica non grata project is Paul Hindemith, a major 20th-century German composer, who was also an excellent violist, teacher, conductor and theoretician. Paul Hindemith’s life was full of twists and turns, triumphs, damnations and paradoxes. He faced great difficulties in the wake of the Nazis’ rising to power. Hindemith was a modern, avant-garde composer, and his friends and associates included left-leaning and Jewish artists, among them Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht, which was deemed inappropriate at the time. The burning of banned books in Berlin in May 1933 was reflected in a scene in Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler. The opera’s evident political message did not escape the Nazis, who went on to prohibit the piece. In 1936, a blanket ban was implemented on Hindemith’s music. At the time, the composer had been married for 11 years to the daughter of the German Jewish conductor Ludwig Rottenberger, and it was clear that the Hindemiths could not stay in Germany without risking their lives. And so, in March 1937, the couple emigrated.  Paul Hindemith wrote the15-minute Concerto for Woodwinds, Harp and Orchestra  it in 1949 in the USA for Columbia University, specifically a festival of contemporary American music. The event lasted for a week and Hindemith insisted that his piece premiere on its final day, 15 May - on the 25th anniversary of his wedding. It thus comes as no surprise that the rondo of the concerto’s final movement quotes Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s famous Wedding March.

text by Jitka Slavíková, Opera dramaturge 

Photography: Serghei Gherciu

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