Werner Haas


Born: 1931; Stuttgart, Germany   Died: October 11, 1976; Nancy, France  
Werner Haas was a German pianist especially known for his interpretations of French repertory, particularly the works of Debussy and Ravel. But his performances of music by Chopin and Beethoven were also highly praised and his repertory was quite broad, extending to Prokofiev and Kabalevsky. He was better known in Europe than in the Americas, where he never concertized. His many admirers assert that had his life not been tragically cut short, he Read more would likely have achieved recognition as one of the finest pianists of his time.

Haas was born in Stuttgart on March 3, 1931. He exhibited unusual talent as a young child, though the pianist himself was reluctant to claim he was extraordinarily gifted. Still, he might have developed even sooner but for the exigencies brought on by the war in his homeland. He enrolled at the Stuttgart Academy of Music in 1947, where he took instruction on piano from Lilli Kröber-Asche, who was known for her Mozart interpretations. Shortly after leaving the Stuttgart Academy in 1954, he traveled to Saarbrücken for two years of study with Walter Gieseking, whose interest in the music of Debussy may well have steered Haas toward the French master's works. It was during this time that he launched his career with a critically well-received recital (1955) in his native Stuttgart. From 1956 on, Haas toured Europe and quickly developed a reputation for his Debussy interpretations. Following a 1958 Paris concert, Philips executive Igor Maslowski signed the pianist to a multi-year contract with his Dutch label. The partnership worked well for both, as evidenced by Haas' numerous discographic successes, including his Debussy complete works edition, which was awarded a Grand Prix du Disque in 1970, and his Ravel recordings, which given an Amsterdam Edison Prize also in 1970.

Though Haas began recording in the late '50s, most of his activity in the studio dates to the 1960s. His 1960 recording of Chopin Waltzes (14) garnered much critical acclaim, even in the United States where it received a rave review in the January 1961 issue of High Fidelity. On tour abroad, he generally drew favorable reviews as well, such as his November 1967 London recital at Wigmore Hall and his July 1970 Milan concert, to name but two. Haas was known to have a broad repertory, but beginning in the latter 1960s, he expanded it to include an even greater range, with works like Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 4. Later, he added that master's Sonata No. 2 to his repertory, as well as compositions by other Russian composers, including Kabalevsky and Stravinsky. By the mid-'70s, Haas' career was in full bloom, with appearances in some of the most prestigious concert halls in Europe and turning out recordings that routinely garnered critical acclaim. Like the American pianist William Kapell, however, his career ended abruptly and tragically: Haas was killed on October 11, 1976, in a accident near Nancy, France, when his automobile collided with a truck. Many of the pianist's recordings are still available via reissue, most on the Philips label. Read less
Browse 1-9 of 9 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 2.
    Piano Greatest Hits
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000278002 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Gershwin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Werner Haas,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  András Schiff,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Uri Segal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Cleveland Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 3.
    Super Audio Cd Sampler - Rqr
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186044 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Severino Gazzelloni,  Werner Haas,  Daniel Chorzempa,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Eliahu Inbal,  Edo De Waart,  Josef Krips  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 4.
    Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 2, Etc / Haas, Inbal, Et Al
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186114 Release Date: 05/27/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Werner Haas
    Conductor:  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 5.
    The #1 Piano Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472589 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  George Gershwin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Olli Mustonen,  Werner Haas,  Martha Argerich,  Zoltán Kocsis  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 6.
    Romantic Piano Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470777 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  András Schiff,  Alfred Brendel,  Werner Haas  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  András Schiff,  Alceo Galliera,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue, Etc / Bernstein
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469139 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Gil Shaham,  André Previn,  David Finck,  Werner Haas  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Eliahu Inbal,  Edo De Waart,  André Previn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 8.
    Debussy: Complete Piano Music Vol 1 / Werner Haas
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438718 Release Date: 01/18/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Werner Haas
    CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    Debussy: Complete Piano Music Vol 2 / Werner Haas, Noël Lee
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438721 Release Date: 01/18/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Werner Haas,  Noel Lee
    CD: $19.99
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