Like many of the French pianists who grew up in the aftermath of the First World War, Monique Haas's repertoire was characterised by an avoidance of romantic composers and a significant representation of French music. However, it was as a performer of twentieth-century French music that Haas is best remembered. Her recordings of Debussy include the comparatively neglected Etudes
, which won a Grand Prix du Disque. She also recorded both of the Ravel concertos
, the G major
twice, as well as the solo piano> music.
Haas combined the cleanness and precision associated with the older school with a warmth of tone colour that reflected the influence of Alfred Cortot. Her unsentimental readings, especially of Debussy and Ravel, give a different view of their music, presenting them as both modern and as inheritors of the tradition of Couperin and the clavencinistes of the 18th century.
Fascinating contrasts can be found between her two recordings of the Ravel concerto in G. The earlier one, made in 1948, makes much of the work's connections with the jazz idiom of the twenties. The later recording, made in 1965, on the other hand, is far more "Mozartean", reflecting Ravel's self-confessed debt to Mozart when he wrote the concerto.