The Czech composer Pavel Haas (1899–1944) is commonly positioned in the history of twentieth-century music as a representative of Leoš Janáček’s compositional school and as one of the Jewish composers imprisoned by the Nazis in the concentration camp of Terezín (Theresienstadt). However, the nature of Janáček’s influence remains largely unexplained and the focus on the context of the Holocaust tends to yield a one-sided view of Haas’s oeuvre. The existing scholarship offers limited insight into Haas’s compositional idiom and does not sufficiently explain the composer’s position with respect to broader aesthetic trends and artistic networks in inter-war Czechoslovakia and beyond. This book is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive (albeit necessarily selective) discussion of Haas’s music since the publication of Lubomír Peduzzi’s ‘life and work’ monograph in 1993. It provides the reader with an enhanced understanding of Haas’s music through analytical and hermeneutical interpretation as well as cultural and aesthetic contextualisation, and thus reveal the rich nuances of Haas’s multi-faceted work which have not been sufficiently recognised so far.
Table of Contents
1: Music and Avant-Garde Discourse in Inter-War Czechoslovakia
2: From the Monkey Mountains: The Body, the Grotesque, and Carnival
3: Suite for Piano, Op. 13 (1935): Neoclassical Tendencies
4: Rhythmic Layers and Musical Form: Janáčekian Elements in Haas’s Compositional Practice
5: Haas’s Charlatan: A Tragi-Comedy about Old Comedians, Modern Individualists, and Uncanny Doubles
6: Four Songs on Chinese Poetry: Grief, Melancholy, Uncanny Reflections, and Vicious Circles in Songs from Terezín
Newspaper Reviews and Articles
Archival Documents (Pavel Haas)
Martin Čurda completed his Ph.D. studies at Cardiff University, School of Music in 2017. He is currently employed as a lecturer in musicology at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music of the University of Ostrava (Czech Republic), teaching courses related to music analysis and semiotics, music history since 1900, and performance practice. His research into the music of Pavel Haas has so far led to the publication of several journal articles and book chapters, as well as to the organisation of the first international academic conference focusing specifically on this composer (Pavel Haas Study Day, 2016). His research combines musical-analytical methods with hermeneutic enquiry rooted in semiotics, cultural critique, and discourse analysis, revealing the interaction of music, culture and politics.