String Quartet in A Major, Op.50
“It was a happy moment for chamber music players when Joseph Haas’ Op.50 String Quartet in A Major was published in 1919. This is an outstanding string quartet. It is inspired and infused with true musical joy. The main theme of the first movement, Frisch und lebendig (fresh and lively) first brought forth by the viola is indeed memorable. The entire movement is charming and the writing is of the highest quality. The second movement, Menuetartig, nicht zu rasch (Like a minuet, not too quick) is richly scored with many inventive ideas. The third movement, Sehr langsam und ruhig (Very slow and calm) is of a different nature. It begins with a folk melody and then is followed by several sections, each with a different mood and tempo--there is a broad lyrical interlude followed by a waltz-like episode, then a rousing two-step, then a lyrical elegiac folksong, and then an intermezzo. The finale, Sehr lebhaft (Very lively) is full of good spirits, there is an especially charming rondo and a highly effective coda."---Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
Joseph Haas (1879-1960) was born in the Bavarian town of Maihingen. Although he trained and worked as a school teacher, he wanted a career in music, and eventually took private lessons from Max Reger, then later at the Leipzig Conservatory. His success as a composer led to his becoming a professor at the Stuttgart Conservatory and then later in Munich. Among his many students were Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Karl Höller and Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Haas, like Reger, never abandoned tonality and many of his works, such as this String Quartet, are richly tonal though in an updated way. Haas wrote in most genres and left a number of chamber music works.
This is a first rate modern work which should not be missed by either professionals or experienced amateurs. It will triumph in the concert hall. Out of print for many years now, we are very proud to reintroduce it.