Erika Haase died in Frankfurt on the day before yesterday, in the morning. As chance would have it, I made a recording yesterday of the Four Serious Songs of Johannes Brahms. The text of the first song ends with
"... So I saw that nothing is better
than that man should rejoice in his work,
for this is his lot.
Who can bring him to see
what will be after him?"
I had to think of Erika Haase immediately. Apart from the recordings we made together, I hardly knew her. However, a glance at the list of her CD publications is enough to recognise how well this song fits. The term "Etude" (= study, piece for practising) awakens for me the idea of zestful work. Erika Haase could work and practice as if possessed, especially for herself alone. She blossomed in her work. Meticulously and not without pride, she kept track, with a thin pencil on the edge of the autograph manuscript, of the hours spent with the practically unplayable Ligeti Etudes. She was perhaps the first person to study them and, in the end, she could play every single one of them. There followed the etudes by Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms. In between, Lutoslawski, Scriabin, Bartok, Stravinsky, Messiaen and, time and again, Ligeti. Thus her unique cycle of etudes came into being, as if all by itself. Erika Haase stood by Solomon's wisdom as stated in Ecclesiastes. She was happy in her work and thus a model for countless other people.
Stuttgart, 3 May 2013
Études pour piano Vol. I, György Ligeti, Béla Bartók, Igor Strawinsky, Olivier Messiaen
Études pour piano Vol. II, Claude Debussy, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Alexandre
Scriabine (TACET 100)
Ordre - Désordre. Hommage à György Ligeti, Complete piano and harpsichord works (TACET
Études pour piano Vol. III, Franz Liszt, Grandes Études de Paganini, Trois Études de
Concert, Zwei Konzertetüden (TACET 150)
Études pour piano Vol. IV, Robert Schumann, Studien für Pedalflügel, Studien für das
Pianoforte, Konzert-Etüden, Symphonische Etüden (TACET 165)
Hommage à Steuermann. His historic recording of Schoenberg's piano music, Works and
arrangements by Eduard Steuermann (TACET 186)
Études pour piano Vol. V, Johannes Brahms, Variations on a theme by paganini op. 35,
Studies on works by Bach, Schubert, Chopin and Weber (TACET 197)