Lost Composers

The “Lost Composers and Theorists” Project of the Center for Schenkerian Studies at the University of North Texas

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The “Lost Composers and Theorists” Project of the Center for Schenkerian Studies at the University of North Texas dedicated to recovering the music of composers whose works were obscured as a result of the cultural policies of the Nazis and the Holocaust. The Project identifies suitable composers, conducts research, publishes articles and monographs, prepares scores for publication by music publishers, and produces and/or fosters performances and recordings of recovered works.
The Lost Composers

* Arnold Mendelssohn (1855-1933)
* Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935)
* Reinhard Oppel (1878-1941)
* Josef Knettel (1875-1972)
* Juliusz Wertheim (1880-1928)
* James Simon (1880-1944)
* Hans Weisse (1892-1940)
* Paul Kletzki (1900-1973)
* Friedrich Hartmann (1900-1973)
* Guenther Raphael (1903-1960)

Project Director
Timothy L. Jackson, Professor of Music
University of North Texas College of Music
1155 Union Circle, #311367
Denton, Texas 76203
Telephone:1-940-565-3748
Fax:1-940-565-2002 (Attn Dr. Jackson)
E-mail: timothy.jackson@unt.edu
Website: http://web2.unt.edu/the/faculty.php?member=Jackson
Sponsors

* University of North Texas ("UNT")
* Private Donors

Project Archive of Scores, Manuscripts & Papers

* University of North Texas Library

The Lost Composers

Arnold Mendelssohn's work has been neglected for political, rather than musical, reasons: Mendelssohn was ethnically Jewish and died just as the Nazis came to power in 1933. His music was banned throughout the Third Reich. After WWII, that earlier proscription culminated in neglect. Not only was Mendelssohn a gifted composer, from a historical perspective, he was also important as a teacher and role model for a second generation of Lost Composers - a "band of artistic brothers" designated by the Project as the "Frankfurt School of Composition" (since Mendelssohn was based in the Frankfurt area). Mendelssohn's students include Lost Composers Guenther Raphael, Josef Knettel, and Reinhard Oppel, as well as Paul Hindemith. Although Mendelssohn's work is virtually unknown today - there is only one commercial recording in print - his published compositions examined to date are of the highest quality. At least half of Mendelssohn's large compositional output, including his three symphonies, remains unpublished. The Project is preparing scores of the symphonies for publication by Mendelssohn's original publisher in Berlin and eventual recording.

Heinrich Schenker, was an important Viennese Jewish music theorist who taught composition to some of the most important musicians of the 20th century, including several Lost Composers, Richard Oppel, Joseph Knettel, Hans Weisse and Paul Kletzki. Schenker studied under Anton Bruckner at the Vienna Conservatory and took a degree in jurisprudence at Vienna University. While he never taught at a music school or university, he enjoyed an excellent reputation as a private teacher of piano and theory. Brahms was so impressed by his compositions and recommended him to his publisher, Simrock. Some of Schenker's other prominent pupils included John Petri Dunn, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Anthony von Hoboken, Oswald Jonas, Felix Salzer, and Otto Vrieslander. The Project sponsors symposia on Schenker's music theories and the Project Director and Co-Director teach Schenkerian theory and analysis.

Reinhard Oppel was a pupil of Schenker and studied formally with Arnold Mendelssohn at the Hoch'sches Conservatorium in Frankfurt from March 1897 to June 1900. Oppel and fellow Lost Composer Guenther Raphael (both Mendelssohn students) taught Music Theory together at the famous Mendelssohn Conservatory in Leipzig in the 1920s and 1930s. While Oppel was not Jewish, because of Oppel's close collaboration with Schenker, Oppel's family had to conceal his intensive correspondence with Schenker. When Oppel's wife and son, Kurt, fled from East Germany in 1952, they buried Oppel's music and papers (including the letters from Schenker) in his old WW I trunk in a garden house in the vicinity of Leipzig. In 1990, with fall of the Berlin Wall, Kurt dug up the chest and brought it to his home in the Odenwald in West Germany (near Frankfurt). In 1999, Kurt placed the Oppel Collection, comprising the bulk of Oppel's surviving music and analytical work with Schenker, on deposit in the UNT library.

Another non-Jewish Lost Composer, Josef Knettel, was a close friend and colleague of Reinhard Oppel. Before 1938, Knettel served as the organist at the Reform Synagogue in Bingen. Knettel's grandson established the Josef Knettel Memorial Collection at the UNT University Library, which includes extensive correspondence between Oppel and Knettel, some of Knettel's manuscript music, and a large collection of Knettel's printed choral music.

Juliusz Wertheim was a Polish-Jewish composer, pianist, conductor and music critic. Wertheim studied with Zygmunt Noskowski in Warsaw and H. Urban in Berlin. Wertheim was also Paul Kletzki's composition teacher at the Warsaw Conservatory. Wertheim's piano pieces and lieder are of exceptionally high quality. Wertheim is known to have composed many large-scale works, including a Piano Concerto in B minor, a Symphony in E minor, and an opera, Fata Morgana, but, to date, the Project has been able to find only his Orchestral Variations.

James Simon was born in Berlin in 1880 and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944 after a sojourn in the Nazis' "model camp" Theriesienstadt (1941-1944). While some of Simon's piano pieces, lieder, and his opera Frau im Stein (1918) were published, many of his important compositions remain unpublished and unperformed.

Hans Weisse, a student of Schenker and friend of Furtwängler, was a composer and theorist who emigrated to the United States in 1930 where he taught Schenkerian Analysis at the Mannes College of Music in New York (thereby establishing Schenkerian Theory in America, where it would flourish). The Project has supported recordings and performances of Weisse's music.

Arnold Mendelssohn was also the teacher of Reinhard Oppel's younger colleague at the Leipzig Conservatory and fellow Lost Composer Guenther Raphael. From 1926-1934, Raphael taught Music Theory and Composition at the Leipzig Conservatory, where Oppel taught the same subjects from 1927-1941. Since Raphael was half-Jewish - according to the Nuremberg laws, he was a "Mischlinge-Erster Klasse" ("Mixture of the first class"), his career was eclipsed during the Nazi period. While Raphael was allowed to survive in Nazi Germany because his wife was Danish (i.e., Aryan), the Nazis tried to silence his musical voice. In 1934, he lost his position at the Leipzig Conservatory, and from 1939 until 1945, he was forbidden to teach and perform. Nevertheless, throughout the war years, Raphael continued to compose "for the desk:" for example, three symphonies were created during this period, one of which (composed in 1942) was published as his Third Symphony in 1945.

Paul Kletzki, a Polish Jewish composer and conductor whose mother, father and sister were murdered in the Holocaust, studied with Wertheim. He also worked intensively with Furtwängler, who also informally studied analysis with Schenker. Kletzki's music, which was physically buried for many years (like that of Reinhard Oppel), has now been resurrected and will be published in a new edition. During the past five years, the Project has worked closely with the composer's widow to find all surviving Kletzki scores, reconstruct Kletzki's biography, and bring Kletzki's music back to life: in November 2002, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra premiered Kletzki's Second Symphony, and in May and September 2003, the Project prepared the scores of Kletzki's Third Symphony and Flute Concertino for their world-premiere recording by BIS Records in Norrkoping, Sweden. The Project organized concerts in 2003 and 2004 featuring the post-war world premiere of Kletzki's First String Quartet, Fantasy Op. 9, Violin Concerto Op. 19, and Piano Concerto Op. 22. In 2005, Kletzki's Opus 11 song cycle Drei Gesänge was given its post-war world premier at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Lost composer Friedrich Hartmann (1900-1973) studied in Vienna with Joseph Marx and others. He published three books on music theory, harmony, and theory pedagogy in Vienna in the late 1930s. Outspoken in his opposition to the Nazis and with a part-Jewish wife, Hartmann was forced into hiding after the Anschluss in 1938. The family managed to leave in 1939; plans to go to Brazil or elsewhere did not materialize, and Hartmann fled instead to South Africa, where he was appointed Head of Music at Rhodes University. In 1960, he moved back to Vienna, where he was deputy head of the Musikhochschule. Hartmann's works include The White Fan, a mime-drama to a text by Hofmannsthal.

The “Lost Composers and Theorists” Project of the Center for Schenkerian Studies at the University of North Texas

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* Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), Reinhard Oppel (1878-1941), and Josef Knettel (1875-1972)
* The Intersection of the Frankfurt and Schenkerian Schools: Arnold Mendelssohn (1855-1933), Reinhard Oppel, and Guenther Raphael (1903-1960)
* Schenker, Furtwängler, Paul Kletzki (1900-1973), Juliusz Wertheim (1880-1928), and Hans Weisse (1892-1940)
* Friedrich Hartmann (1900-1973) and James Simon (1880-1944)

If the advent of the Nazis to power in 1933 impacted negatively on the careers of super-star musicians who had established international reputations in the late twenties (Hindemith, Schoenberg, etc.), it would prove disastrous for many less well-known Jewish composers like Paul Kletzki, as well as for those few “Aryan” German and Austrian composers like Reinhard Oppel and Friedrich Hartmann who were profoundly antagonistic to the regime. Kletzki narrowly escaped the Nazis thanks to the Swiss citizenship of his wife. Oppel, a close friend and colleague of Viennese-Jewish music theorist Heinrich Schenker – and also a professor at the renowned Mendelssohn Conservatory in Leipzig, who was outspoken in his critique of the Nazis, gradually became persona non grata, dying in obscurity in 1941. My project began as an effort to resurrect the music and theoretical work of Jewish and non-Jewish composers like Oppel – all musicians connected directly or indirectly with music theorist Heinrich Schenker – and later branched out to include other composers and music theorists of this period who became “lost” as a consequence of the Nazis’s cultural policies and the Holocaust. It is noteworthy that the rise of the Nazis did not literally lead to the murder of all the “Lost Composers” – as was the case with James Simon. Rather, some, like Friedrich Hartmann, had their careers disrupted by exile and consequently fell into obscurity.
Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), Reinhard Oppel (1878-1941), and Josef Knettel (1875-1972)

Since 1995, I have been resurrecting Reinhard Oppel’s music and analytical work with Heinrich Schenker. His music and papers were also hidden and buried for fifty years: because Schenker was Jewish, Oppel’s family had to conceal his intensive correspondence with Schenker. Then, when the Oppel’s wife and son Kurt fled from East Germany in 1952, they buried Oppel’s music and papers (including the letters from Schenker) in his old WW I trunk in a garden house in the vicinity of Leipzig. In 1990, with fall of the Wall, Kurt dug up the chest and brought it to his home in the Odenwald in West Germany (near Frankfurt). In 1998, I invited Kurt to visit the University of North Texas, and in 1999, he placed the Oppel Collection, comprising the bulk of Oppel’s surviving music and analytical work with Schenker, on deposit in the UNT library. In 2001, I published the first large excerpt from the analytical papers under the title “The Schenker-Oppel Exchange: Schenker as Composition Teacher,” in the Oxbridge journal Music Analysis 20, pp. 1-115. Additionally, I began significant efforts to disseminate Oppel’s music. In 2002, CBC Toronto completed a two-hour radio documentary on Oppel, which evolved from the concert of Oppel’s music connected with my presentation on “Oppel and Schenker” at the “Toronto 2000" meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory. I worked closely with Mr. Eitan Cornfield, the Toronto producer, to give the documentary its musicological-historical grounding. At a “Lost Composers Concert” in Halifax, I arranged for the post-war world premieres of Oppel’s Second String Quartet (1919), Cello Sonata (1904), and six Lieder from the 1920s. Another “Lost Composer” Josef Knettel was a close friend and colleague of Reinhard Oppel. Having made contact with Dieter Maass, Josef Knettel’s grandson, in 2003 I facilitated the establishment of the Josef Knettel Memorial Collection at the UNT University Library, which includes extensive correspondence between Oppel and Knettel, some of Knettel’s manuscript music, and a large collection of printed choral music. Pre-1938, Knettel had served as the (non-Jewish) organist at the Reform Synagogue in Bingen.

The Intersection of the Frankfurt and Schenkerian Schools: Arnold Mendelssohn (1855-1933), Reinhard Oppel, and Guenther Raphael (1903-1960)

Arnold Mendelssohn’s work has been neglected partly for political – rather than musical - reasons: Mendelssohn was ethnically Jewish and died just as the Nazis came to power in 1933; therefore, his music was banned throughout the Third Reich; after the war, proscription culminated in – in my view, unjust - neglect. Not only was Mendelssohn a gifted composer, but also from a historical perspective, he was important as a teacher and role model for a second generation of “Lost Composers” – a “band of artistic brothers,” which I have designated the “Frankfurt School of Composition” (since Mendelssohn was based in the Frankfurt area). Mendelssohn’s students include “Lost Composers” Guenther Raphael, Josef Knettel, and Reinhard Oppel, as well as Paul Hindemith (indeed, it was as Oppel’s teacher that Arnold Mendelssohn first came to my attention). It is not coincidental that Oppel and Raphael (both Mendelssohn students) taught Music Theory together at the famous Mendelssohn Conservatory in Leipzig in the 1920s and 1930s.

While there clearly many points of ideological convergence between the Arnold Mendelssohn and Heinrich Schenker, I have not yet found any evidence that they were aware of each other’s work; however, given their ideological proximity, it is unsurprising that two of Mendelssohn’s students were profoundly interested in Schenker and his analytical approach, namely Reinhard Oppel and Paul Hindemith; furthermore, there is evidence that Knettel and Raphael also were peripherally aware of Schenker's approach. Mendelssohn's Anschauung as expressed in his work and teaching clearly made a number of his students sympathetic to Schenkerian Analysis during its early phase of development in the 1920s and early 1930s.

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It is important to distinguish Arnold Mendelssohn from his much more famous relative, Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1846). I number Arnold Mendelssohn among the “Lost Composers” whose music fully deserves reviving: although Mendelssohn’s work is virtually unknown today – there is only one commercial recording in print – those of his published compositions that I have been able to examine to date are of the highest quality. Additionally, at least half of Mendelssohn’s large compositional output – including some of his most important pieces, namely his three symphonies – remains unpublished. I am currently arranging performance, recording, and publication of the symphonies by Mendelssohn’s original publisher in Berlin.

Oppel studied formally with Arnold Mendelssohn at the Hoch’sches Conservatorium in Frankfurt from March 1897 to June 1900. Two years after his graduation, Arnold Mendelssohn wrote Oppel a strong recommendation, which concludes with the remark that “his compositional studies have taken him so far that he has expressed himself successfully in many fields of tonal art.” From letters now preserved in the Reinhard Oppel Memorial Collection at UNT, it is clear that the two men remained on friendly terms for years thereafter. Indeed, the more closely I become acquainted with the music and ideologies of Oppel and Mendelssohn, the more evident it is that Oppel’s style – especially his harmonic language – and his way of thinking about music are profoundly indebted to Mendelssohn.

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It is noteworthy that Arnold Mendelssohn was also the teacher of Oppel’s younger colleague at the Leipzig Conservatory and fellow “Lost Composer” Guenther Raphael. From 1926-1934, Raphael taught Music Theory and Composition at the Leipzig Conservatory, where Oppel taught the same subjects from 1927-1941. Not only did both Oppel and and Raphael both teach “Klangbewusstsein” – literally “consciousness of sonority,” a term which loosely corresponds to “ear-training” – but they also had their music premiered by the same circle of musicians. For example, both Oppel’s Fourth String Quartet in F minor and Raphael’s Violin Sonata in E major were premiered on the same concert at the Leipzig Conservatory on January 7, 1928 by the same musicians, i.e. the Cologne Schulze-Prisca string quartet.

Since Raphael was half-Jewish – according to the Nuremberg laws, he was a “Mischlinge-Erster Klasse” (“Mixture of the first class”) - his career was eclipsed during the Nazi period.. While Raphael was allowed to survive in Nazi Germany because his wife was Danish (i.e. Aryan), the Nazis tried to silence his musical voice. In 1934, he lost his position at the Leipzig Conservatory, and from 1939 until 1945, he was forbidden to teach and perform. Nevertheless, throughout the war years, Raphael continued to compose “for the desk:” for example, three symphonies were created during this period, one of which (composed in 1942) was published as his Third Symphony in 1945.
Schenker, Furtwängler, Paul Kletzki (1900-1973), Juliusz Wertheim (1880-1928), and Hans Weisse (1892-1940)

Furtwängler studied analysis informally with Schenker from at least 1920 on, and it is noteworthy that he respected Schenker not only as a theorist but also as a composition teacher. Since, in the same period, Kletzki worked intensively with Furtwängler – he was one of Schenker’s most advanced students – we may consider him a “grand-pupil” of Schenker. On 19 May 1931, Furtwängler had written a letter of recommendation for Kletzki which reads: “In Paul Kletzki I recognise not only an extremely talented composer but one of the few conducting talents of the younger generation who really has a great future ahead of them.” Furtwängler was also close friends with Schenker’s student Hans Weisse, a composer and theorist who emigrated to the United States in 1930 where he taught Schenkerian Analysis at the Mannes College of Music in New York (thereby establishing Schenkerian Theory in America, where it would flourish). The “Lost Composers” Project has supported recordings and performances of the little-known music of Schenker, Kletzki, and Weisse.

Kletzki's Third Symphony, completed in October 1939 and dedicated to Madame Olga Oboussier, a wealthy woman who had purchased music paper for the destitute refugee, is subtitled “In Memoriam.” This epigraph can be interpreted in various ways. It may signify the already considerable number of victims of Nazism by 1939, including Kletzki's own family: his mother, father and sister were to be murdered in the Holocaust - although he did not receive official confirmation until the Polish ambassador gave him the news just before the first performance of the slow movement of the Symphony in Paris in 1946. Or, it may be “to the memory” of the great German art-music tradition that Kletzki had felt part of, but which had excluded him. Indeed, it is clear that time did not heal these wounds for Kletzki the composer since he “lost his voice” after 1942 — not to mention his pre-1933 music (as will be explained below). Kletzki claimed that his post-War compositional silence emanated from “The shock of all that Hitlerism meant [which] destroyed also in me the spirit and will to compose.”

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Kletzki's music, which was physically buried for many years (like that of Reinhard Oppel), has now been resurrected and will be published in a new edition by the Center for Schenkerian Studies. The Center worked with BIS Records to record Kletzki’s Third Symphony, and is looking forward to collaborating with Aulos Records and the Berlin Radio Symphony to continue the recording project.

The story of the rediscovery of Kletzki’s music is quite remarkable. Kletzki was teaching at the Scuola Superiore di Musica in Milan in 1936 when he realized that, as a stateless Jew, he was in mortal danger. He left his music in two large wooden chests in the basement of his hotel in Milan, and fled first to Russia and then to Switzerland, where he lived as a refugee during the Second World War. The area in Milan where the hotel was located was totally obliterated in the bombing. Since Kletzki believed that his publishers had also destroyed his music - in a newspaper interview published in Australia in 1948, he observed bitterly “that even the copperplates from which my music was lithographed in Germany were melted down” – he thought that his music had been lost. But 1965, in the course of excavations in Milan, the chest was discovered and returned. At this time, Kletzki was afraid to open it, believing that all his manuscripts and scores had turned to dust. It was not until after his death in 1973 that the chest was opened and the music found to be perfectly preserved.

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Over the past five years, I have worked closely with Madame Yvonne Kletzki to find all surviving Kletzki scores, reconstruct Kletzki’s biography, and bring her husband’s music back to life: in November 2002, I arranged for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to premiere Kletzki’s Second Symphony, and in May and September 2003, I prepared the scores of Kletzki’s Third Symphony and Flute Concertino for their world-premiere recording by BIS Records in Norrkoping, Sweden. In November 2003, I worked with the St. Cecilia Concert Series, the Atlantic Jewish Council, and the Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Halifax (my home town) to mount a “Lost Composers Concert” at historic Pier 21 (the port of entry to Canada for many refugees from Europe). This concert, which was broadcast nationally by the CBC, featured the post-war world premiere of Kletzki’s First String Quartet, his Op. 1. In December 2004, I organized a concert and lecture tour in Israel featuring Kletzki’s Fantasy Op. 9, Violin Concerto Op. 19, and Piano Concerto Op. 22. The tour included two concerts and a lecture at the Hebrew University, a lecture-concert at Bar Ilan University, as well as a live, three-hour broadcast of a lecture and concert on Kol Ha-Musica from the Targ Center in Ein Kerem.

Recently, I have begun to collect and explore the music of Kletzki’s composition teacher at the Warsaw Conservatory, Juliusz Wertheim. A Polish-Jewish composer, pianist, conductor and music critic, Wertheim had studied with Zygmunt Noskowski in Warsaw and H. Urban in Berlin. From the high quality of the piano pieces and Lieder that I have been able to examine to date, it is clear that Wertheim will join the ranks of the “Lost Composers” I am promoting. With regard to large-scale works, Wertheim is known to have composed a Piano Concerto in B minor, a Symphony in E minor, and an opera Fata Morgana; however, to date I have only been able to locate his Orchestral Variations.

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Friedrich Hartmann (1900-1973) and James Simon (1880-1944)

This past year, I have incorporated two new “Lost Composers” into the project: Friedrich Hartmann and James Simon. Hartmann (whose dates exactly parallel those of Kletzki) was active in Vienna and Simon in Berlin. While I have not yet established any links between them and the other “Lost Composers” discussed above, I would not be surprised to discover connections.

James Simon was born in Berlin in 1880 and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944 after a sojourn in the Nazis’ “model camp” Theriesienstadt (1941-1944). While some of Simon’s approximately piano pieces, Lieder, and his opera Frau im Stein (1918) were published, many of his important compositions remain unpublished and unperformed. Friedrich Hartmann (1900-1973) studied in Vienna with Joseph Marx and others. He published three books on music theory, harmony, and theory pedagogy in Vienna in the late 1930s with Universal Edition (also Schenker’s publisher). Outspoken in his opposition to the Nazis and with a part-Jewish wife, Hartmann was forced into hiding after the Anschluss in 1938. The family managed to leave in 1939; plans to go to Brazil or elsewhere did not materialize, and Hartmann fled instead to South Africa, where he was appointed Head of Music at Rhodes University. While there, he taught some of South Africa’s future leading composers - the Black composer Michael Moerane (uncle of Thabo Mbeki) and Hubert Du Plessis. Hartmann became Head of Music at Wits University in Johannesburg in 1956. In 1960, he moved back to Vienna, where he was deputy head of the Musikhochschule. Hartmann's works include a mime-drama to a text by Hofmannsthal (with Hofmannstahl’s consent - The White Fan). In the 1950s, Hartmann's daughter and son-in-law became involved in the anti-apartheid movement, and they were forced into exile. I am currently working with Simon’s grandson and Hartmann’s granddaughter to revive the music of their respective grandparents.