Werner Haentjes was born on 16 December 1923 in Bocholt (Germany). His family moved to Cologne when he was only one year old and Cologne would become his lifelong home. He became a choirboy at the Cathedral of Cologne and in 1939 began his music studies under Philip Jarnach and Heinrich Lemacher. The outbreak of World War II put an abrupt end to that. After the war Werner Haentjes first worked as a Kapellmeister in Bielefeld and Heidelberg. In 1949 he returned to Cologne and started to work as a composer. At that time he became an active part of the Darmstadt School, was a student of Rene Leibowitz and several of his compositions were premiered at the concerts of the Summer Courses for New Music.
In addition to his modern, avant-garde compositions in twelve-tone technique Werner Haentjes worked in a second field - he composed stage music for the "Schauspiel Köln", the main theatre in Cologne. First he composed only on request, but in 1974 Werner Haentjes became the musical director of the theatre and formed the productions with his music for many years until his retirement in 1989. Over the years he worked together with such renowned directors like Hansgünther Heyme, Jürgen Flimm or Peter Zadek.
Werner Haentjes died on 20 July 2001 in Cologne (Germany).
Beside the hundreds of compositions for stage Werner Haentjes composed 2 symphonies (the first premiered by Ferenc Fricsay in 1952), concertos for violin and for horn, 3 operas (Leonce und Lena, Nichts Neues aus Perugia, Gesucht werden Tote), and a wealth of sacred, choral and chamber music. His work "Preisungen" on psalm translations of Martin Buber was performed at a commemoration at the concentration camp Dachau during the festivities of the Olympic Games in 1972.
The Concerto for violin and orchestra was composed in 1949 and premiered the same year at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music. The first performance took place on 10 July 1949 with Helmut Mendius (violin), the Orchester des Landestheaters Darmstadt under Richard Kotz (conductor). Other premieres at that evening were by Peter Racine Fricker (Prelude, Elegy and Finale op.10) or William Bergsma (Music on a Quiet Theme).
The score of the violin concerto exists only in manuscript which is archived at the Historical Archive of Cologne. With kind permission of the family of Werner Haentjes I received a scan of that manuscript. Below one can find the typeset full score for download.
The sound snippet below is a computer realisation of the beginning of the concerto.