|Pavel and Hugo Haas|
From 1919 to 1921, Pavel Haas studied at the Brno Conservatory of which Janáček was Director. Even in those early days, no Czech composer could fail not to be influenced by Janáček, but any decent composer finds his or her own, original voice. Pavel Haas's String Quartet no 1 (1920), suggests that Haas was well aware of the avant garde in other parts of Europe. Janáček wasn't a cuddly personality. Read here what Haas said of him. Haas wrote mainly chamber music and songs. My favourites are the String Quartet no 3 and his Four Songs on Chinese Poetry (1944), though look under the label "Theresienstadt" below for more.
|Pavel and Hugo, with their parents|
Bílá nemoc,there's a sudden frame of a man in the howling mob outside the Dictator's palace (which is monumentalist Art Deco and filled with geometric symbols) . It's Dr Galen (Hugo Haas). There's a mysterious plague in the country, which starts as white spots on the body and kills everyone it touches. Everyone's paranoid about contamination. Galen has a cure but he's not allowed to use it because his political terms are too high. So he's only allowed to treat the destitute in Ward 13, who don't count. But those he treats, survive. Gradually the plague spreads, and the paranoia. The Dictator visits the research hospital but Galen isn't allowed near him. Galen is anti-war, and that's another form of plague. Eventually, Baron Krog, the second most powerful man in the land, gets sick and is saved when he promises to respect Galen's ideas. Galen meets the dictator. Both of them fought in the Great War, but the Dictator believes war is a good thing and Galen thinks otherwise. Soon, the Dictator gets infected too, has a change of heart, signs ceasefire documents, and summons Galen. Galen tries to pass through the howling crowds, but they confront him when he talks anti-war and they beat him to death. No-one now to stop the plague, or the war. And of course, we now know what happened when Hitler marched in a few months after the movie was made.
The Other Woman (1954) in which Haas plays a film director who *used to be something in Europe", as an extra whispers. His boss insists he should be more "American". "Movies for kiddies?" snorts Haas in contempt. He gives a wannabe a chance, but when she blows her lines, she blackmails him. She's a twisted loser but destroys him. Eventually she's found strangled, but by then Haas's life is ruined. The last frame ends as the first, where Haas is seen screaming from behind bars. First time round, he was showing actors how to emote. this time, it's him behind bars for real.
|Pavel Haas, wife and daughter|