Monday, February 7, 2005

Good Music Memories

Karl Haas, the host of the radio program Adventures in Good Music, has died at the age of 91.

I grew up listening to the program; it started out on WJR in Detroit in 1959, and it was through him that I learned the fundamentals and a life-long appreciation of classical music. Dr. Haas also knew the audience he was playing to – mostly people who knew very little about classical music – so he did it in a way that was both educational yet not too pedantic. He also had a great sense of humor, making fun of the pompous, and he had no qualms about mixing popular music of today with classical; he was one of the first to praise the Beatles for their musicology.

AGM was syndicated to stations around the country so I was able to listen to it no matter where I lived, and the opening notes of the program – the second movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata – were a welcome reminder of home, as was his sonorous greeting, “Hello, everyone!”

I got to meet Dr. Haas a couple of times; once at the WJR studios when I was being interviewed for a job there, and later at a book-signing in Petoskey. He was unfailingly polite to his audience and gracious to his fans.

He was also infamous for his bad puns: “We leave no tone unstirred” or “Welcome to the din of inequity.” Anyone who can pull that off gets my admiration.