Joseph Haas

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Joseph Haas, illustration in the Herderlexikon, 1931

Joseph Haas (born March 19, 1879 in Maihingen near Nördlingen , † March 30, 1960 in Munich ) was a German composer and music teacher whose work is assigned to the late Romantic period .


Joseph Haas was a son from the second marriage of the teacher Alban Haas. His older half-brother was Alban Haas, named after his father . He worked as a Catholic priest and religion teacher at today's Kurfürst-Ruprecht-Gymnasium and as a historian mainly in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse , which is located in the Diocese of Speyer . Through his brother, Joseph Haas later had connections with both the Speyer Cathedral and the Neustadt high school.


Joseph Haas first became a teacher like his father and worked from 1897 to 1904 at the teacher training institute in Lauingen an der Donau .

In an effort to deepen his musical inclinations, Joseph Haas met Max Reger in 1904 and followed him to Leipzig in 1907 to study music . Haas completed his studies in 1909 and in 1911 became a composition teacher at the Conservatory in Stuttgart , where he was appointed professor in 1916 . From 1919 to 1921 he was the musical director of the Singakademie zu Glogau . He then taught at the Academy of Music in Munich (today: University of Music and Theater Munich ) from 1924 to 1950 as a full professor. In 1921 he founded the Donaueschingen International Chamber Music Festival for New Music together with Paul Hindemith and Heinrich Burkard .

Title page for the Speyer Cathedral Festival by Joseph Haas, 1930

After the Second World War he became President of the Munich University of Music and Theater (until his retirement in 1950) and directed its reconstruction. His last work was the hymn for the Eucharistic World Congress in Munich in 1960, the fair copy of which he died. Joseph Haas was buried in the Munich forest cemetery .

The composer formulated the meaning of the music and the intention of his work as follows:

“The music should please, not offend; it should shake, not shatter; it should ennoble, not banalize. "

- Quoted from the website of the Württemberg State Library

On the 900th anniversary of the consecration of the Speyer Cathedral , Joseph Haas composed the "Speyer Cathedral Festival Mass" in 1930, which he dedicated to Ludwig Sebastian , his brother's diocesan bishop. Until the 1950s, this mass was part of the general hymns in the parishes of the diocese, but was then temporarily completely forgotten. Years later she was given a place in the new Speyer diocesan annex (for insertion) of the Catholic German standard hymn book " Gotteslob ".

In Bad Aibling there has been a “Joseph Haas Choir” since 1966, which is named after the composer.


Haas' work is based entirely on tonality . He was initially strongly influenced by his mentor Reger, whose polyphonic, harmonious tonal language also characterizes Haas' works. Their style, however, is geared towards easier comprehension for the audience, therefore often has a folk, humorous tone and is formally clear and well-arranged. The main focus of Haas' work is on vocal music, such as songs , sacred and secular choral music . He also left chamber music , orchestral, piano and organ works. The two operas Tobias Wunderlich and Die Hochzeit des Jobs can be considered highlights of his work .

During his lifetime, Haas was an extremely successful and respected composer. On his 75th birthday in 1954, numerous festive events were held in both of the German states at the time. Since Haas' death, the presence of his work in the concert business has decreased significantly. The Joseph Haas Society , founded in 1949 by his friend, the curative educator Rupert Egenberger , campaigns for the composer and his music .

Haas was also a major music educator. His numerous students included composers and conductors such as Theodor Pröpper (1896–1979), Otto Jochum (1898–1969), Karl Gustav Fellerer (1902–1984), Eugen Jochum (1902–1987), Heinrich Simbriger (1903–1976), Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905–1963), Karl Höller (1907–1987), Philipp Mohler (1908–1982), the pianist Rosl Schmid (1911–1978), Cesar Bresgen (1913–1988), Ernst Kutzer (1918–2008) , Rudolf Mors (1920–1988), Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923–2013), Hans Walter Kämpfel (1924–2016) and Theo Brand (1925–2016).


Stage works


  • Saint Elizabeth (op. 84)
  • Christmas Eve (op.85)
  • God's Book of Life (op.87)
  • The Song of the Mother (op.91)
  • The year in the song (op.103)
  • The Blessed (op.106)

Song cycles

measure up

  • A German Singing Mass (op. 60)
  • Speyer Cathedral Festival (op. 80)
  • Christ the King Mass (op.88)
  • Munich Liebfrauenmesse (op. 96)
  • Te Deum (op.100)
  • Funeral Mass (op.101)
  • German Christmas Mass (op.105)
  • German Choral Mass ( op.108 )

Orchestral works

  • The grave in Busento , a symphonic fantasy based on Platen's poem of the same name (1902)
  • A symphonic idyll with an intermezzo and a minuet (1903)
  • Felice notte , a symphonic episode for orchestra (1903)
  • Symphonic Suite (1913)
  • Serene Serenade (op. 41, 1913/14)
  • Variations and rondo on an old German folk song (op. 45, 1916/17)
  • Suite of variations on an old rococo theme ( op.64 , 1924)
  • Lyric Intermezzo (1937)
  • Overture to a happy game (op.95, 1943)
  • Death on the Apple Tree , music for a radio play based on Paul Osborn (op.101b, 1945)

Chamber music

  • String Quartet in G minor (op.8)
  • Violin Sonata in B minor (op.21)
  • Divertimento in D major (op. 22) for string trio
  • French Horn Sonata in F major (op.29)
  • Divertimento in C major (op.30a) for string quartet
  • Chamber trio in A minor (op. 38) for two violins and piano
  • String Quartet in A major (op.50)

Piano music

  • Wichtelmännchen ( op.27 )
  • Ghosts (op.34)
  • Household tales (op.35, op.43, op.53)
  • Eulenspiegeleien (op.39)
  • Ancient unnameable days elegies for piano (op.42)
  • Sonata in A minor (op.46)
  • Two sonatas (D major, A minor) (op.61)
  • Four Sonatinas (C major, D minor, G major, F major) (op.94)
  • Chimes, Ten Little Pieces for Piano (op.99)

Organ music

  • Three Preludes and Fugues (C minor, G minor, D major) (op.11)
  • Sonata in C minor (op.12)
  • Suite in D minor (op.20)
  • Suite in A major (op.25)



  • Karl Laux : Joseph Haas. Portrait of an Artist - Picture of a Time. Mainz 1931.
  • Karl Laux: Joseph Haas . Henschel, Berlin 1954.
  • Joseph Haas: Speeches and essays . Schott, Mainz 1964.
  • Wilhelm Zentner:  Haas, Joseph. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 7, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1966, ISBN 3-428-00188-5 , p. 376 ( digitized version ).
  • Composers in Bavaria - Joseph Haas . Volume 23 of the series. Schneider, Tutzing 1994.
  • Newsletters of the Joseph Haas Society e. V. since 1949.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. In Advent 1960, shortly after Haas' death, Christmas Eve was performed by the school orchestra and choir under Ferdinand Hoelscher.
  2. Württembergische Landesbibliothek: Joseph Haas ( Memento of the original dated August 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Joseph Haas Choir: History ( Memento of the original from May 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /