Karl Haas Passes Away
February 7, 2005 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Goodbye, Everyone... Karl Haas has passed away at the age of 91. Barely anyone knew what he looked like, but his show Adventures in Good Music (running since 1959) brought millions of people into the world of Classical Music. He was also the author of Inside Music, now in its 10th printing.
posted by teletype1 (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh this makes me sad. My local NPR station quit running his show, but I always enjoyed it and enjoyed is unapolagetic nerdiness.

He sounded like a quirky music professor that one either enjoyed or was bored to tears by.

I enjoyed him a lot, even though I do not know much about classical music.
posted by Danf at 8:32 AM on February 7, 2005

Wow... This makes me very sad. I've literally listened to Haas all my life. My father was a classical buff and some of my earliest memories are of listening to the show with him in the early 80s. And I've kept listening to it over the years. I knew he must've been really old... but damn.

posted by InnocentBystander at 8:41 AM on February 7, 2005

Very sad. I'd listen to his show on my car radio while having lunch, years back. He was like my little island of friendliness and wisdom and dignity amidst the stormy sea of a crappy job.

He looks just the way he sounded like he should (which I mean in a good way).
posted by contessa at 9:05 AM on February 7, 2005

Wow, just a few weeks ago I was in the car with my parents listening to Adventures and reminiscing about my childhood and his voice...it was so distinctive: stately and elegant, but comforting at the same time...like a grandfather. I asked them whether [the broadcast] was just an old recording and if Haas was still alive. Now I know. RIP.
posted by ch3ch2oh at 9:16 AM on February 7, 2005

I had no idea he was so old! My son, who plays viola in an orchestra and I used to listen to his show on WRR in Dallas when I would bring him home from orchestra practice before he got his license. We nicknamed him Snooty Dude. The show would be on as we drove home from the orchestra hall and we would always ask, "What's Snooty Dude talking about tonight?" I had no idea he had been on so long.
posted by Doohickie at 9:17 AM on February 7, 2005

It's been 20 years since I've listened to Karl. Man I loved that show!

posted by Floydd at 9:18 AM on February 7, 2005

This is one of my memories from childhood. I live in Detroit, and the family radio was always on WJR, where the show originated. To this day I think of it when I hear the Beethoven sonata (sorry, can't recall which one) that was its theme music.

FYI, I found this in with the cue sheets for radio stations while poking around WCLV's website (I changed the "@" in the e-mail address to discourage spammers):
Optional Statement to be read prior to "Adventures in Good Music" broadcasts.

"As many of you know, Karl Haas died Sunday, February 6th. The value of his decades-long contribution to classical radio is inestimable, and his shoes can never be filled. However, thanks to a wealth of archival material, (INSERT STATION CALL LETTERS) will continue to bring you Adventures in Good Music. And now, the late Karl Haas..."

In case listeners ask: In the Jewish Tradition, flowers are not sent. Listeners wishing to send expressions of sympathy to Karl s family may do so c/o WCLV, 26501 Renaissance Parkway, Cleveland, OH 44128 or by sending email to karlhaas AT wclv.com. (Please spell out Karl s full name.)
posted by pmurray63 at 10:36 AM on February 7, 2005


I feel like pouring a bottle of Cabernet instead of a 40 though. Karl has been with me forever. Sad day.
posted by Dantien at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2005

Karl kept me company, and kept me sane on more nights driving home than anyone else.

posted by devbrain at 11:20 AM on February 7, 2005

FWIW, Karl's theme music is the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata #8 in C Minor, also known as the "Pathetique".

It's an interesting dive into people's interpretation styles if you compare Karl's playing (yes, it was him playing the opening music) to other people's... he's been criticized for years for the slow, saccharine way he plays it. I've always loved it though, it captured something delicate in LvB that nobody else seems to get.
posted by teletype1 at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2005

Oh man. I live in Detroit but had missed this news. I hadn't heard the program in years, but I recall he did fine work.

the family radio was always on WJR, where the show originated.

Ah, the old days when JR had people like J.P. McCarthy and Karl Haas. Now they've got Rush. Isn't it odd that with even more media out there the past couple of decades, it seems there's *less* attention to the fine arts in mainstream programming than there was in earlier times.

Anyway, thank you for posting this teletype1.
And it'd be nice to think that perhaps Karl has now had the chance to discuss Beethoven interpretation with Ludwig himself.
posted by NorthernLite at 1:28 PM on February 7, 2005

This is very sad. I used to listen to him on WCLV. Great show.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:10 PM on February 7, 2005

posted by Smart Dalek at 2:30 PM on February 7, 2005

Got to meet see him a couple of times in college, when he'd do special events for the campus classical music station. Always at a distance, but he seemed quite affable.
posted by piskycritter at 2:37 PM on February 7, 2005

posted by coriolisdave at 2:38 PM on February 7, 2005

I enjoyed Karl Haas's snooty voice, I though it a perfect match to his subject matter. I'll miss Mr. Haas but I will continue to hear his voice, imitated by various classical music station announcers.
posted by tgyg at 3:17 AM on February 8, 2005


An underheralded radio great.
posted by Vidiot at 11:49 AM on February 8, 2005

I meant no disrespect when I referred to him as "Snooty Dude". It's what his voice conveyed to me, not in any judgmental way, though; it just was snooty.

My wife said they carried his funeral/memorial service live on WRR here in Dallas.
posted by Doohickie at 9:44 AM on February 9, 2005

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