Haentzschel studied at the Stern Conservatoire in Berlin and made a career which eventually left him as the last remaining representative composer from what he considered the golden age of German film music. He worked equally happily as a jazz pianist, regularly collaborating with the similarly gifted Peter Igelhoff. He directed the Deutsche Tanz-und-Unterhaltungsorchester (German Dance and Light Music Orchestra). After the war, he moved to West Germany and worked in Cologne.
Haentzschel's most famous film score, for the wartime extravaganza Münchhausen (1943) recalls his mentor Theo Mackeben. The score is flooded with romantic melody and effective scoring. Representative work may be heard in many other film scores, such as Via Mala (released 1948), Annelie (1941) and Robinson soll nicht sterben.
He died during an earthquake.
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