Haas/Kr‡sa

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COMPOSERS: Haas/Krása
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: String Quartet No. 2 (From the Monkey Mountains)
PERFORMER: Hawthorne String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 440 853-2 DDD
The music of the lost generation which died in Auschwitz is at last coming to wider public attention. Haas and Krása, both born in 1899, produced

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music of vision, humour and poignancy, much of which is touched by genius. The latest addition to Decca’s ‘Entartete Musik’ series of music suppressed by the Third Reich, which features string quartets by the two composers, is a revelation. Both men in their early 20s had an imagination and technical facility matching that of their compatriot Martinu; that they did not live to fulful this promise and further enrich the Czech and European tradition is but one of the many crimes of Nazism.

Haas’s Second Quartet (1925) often leans heavily on his teacher Janácek, but it is unfailingly ear-catching and shot through with true originality. Krása, four years earlier, is in his First Quartet even more challenging, though his musical language never turns the listener away. Haas’s Third Quartet (1938) is both stirring and more integrated in style – a moving testament to Slavonic courage in the face of approaching tyranny. The Hawthorne Quartet plays

this music with a passion and feeling for idiom which radiates from every bar. Excellently recorded and presented, this is an issue which no one who cares about 20th-century music can afford to

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ignore. Jan Smaczny