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Cultural Accommodation and

Exchange in the Refugee Experience:


A German-Jewish Musician in
Shanghai
Christian Utz
This article uses biography as a means of penetrating the musical culture of Shanghai at
a particular historical moment. The multi-faceted interaction of the German-Jewish
refugee composer Wolfgang Fraenkel with his Chinese host environment between 1939
and 1947 affords a rare opportunity to observe the processes by which musical influence
takes place / an influence flowing both from Fraenkel to his Chinese students and from
Chinese culture into Fraenkels own music and thinking, however tentatively. Although
in his public and semi-public musical life, Fraenkel was pragmatic rather than idealistic,
he was one of the few who were willing to confront ethnic separation and prejudice.
Keywords: Wolfgang Fraenkel (1897/1983); Exile Shanghai; Twelve-Tone Technique in
Asia; Sang Tong (b. 1923); Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Shanghai Municipal
Orchestra; Mario Paci; Konoe Hidemaro (1898/1973); Julius Schlo; Karl Steiner; Ding
Shande; Vinzenz Hundhausen (1878/1955); Musical Modernism in China
History is made by individuals and this is even / or especially / true for modern
Chinese music history. Applying to this context Giambattista Vicos observation that
man can know only what he has made himself, as employed by Edward Said in his
study of Orientalism (1995, 4/5), we might ask how exactly Western individuals have
contributed to the music of 20th-century China: which developments, which debates
have they triggered, supported or opposed; how have they helped to construct Chinas
Christian Utz is currently guest professor of theory and analysis at the University of Music and
Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria. He completed his doctorate (published 2002) at the Institute for
Musicology, Vienna, with a thesis on New Music and Interculturality: From John Cage to Tan Dun.
Research interests include Jewish composers in Asian exile and the relationship between traditional
and contemporary music in Asia. Correspondence to: Mariahilferstr. 56/27, A-1070 Vienna, Austria.
Email: mail@christianutz.net Website: http://www.christianutz.net
Ethnomusicology Forum
Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2004, pp. 119/151
ISSN 1741-1912 (print)/ISSN 1741-1920 (online) # 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd
DOI: 10.1080/1741191042000215309
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culturally fragmented, but attractive and unique image? To what extent did some of
them consciously try to mediate between the divergent music traditions of China and
the West (or to what extent were they forced to do so), rather than importing an
idealized form of Western music as a model that every Chinese musician should
aspire and adhere to? How did they act on the scale from authoritarian disrespect for
Asian musicians and their heritage, on the one hand, to a sensitive attempt to build
bridges between two fundamentally different musical cultures, on the other?
Arguably, studies of individual experiences can sometimes irradiate such intricate
questions better than comprehensive historical surveys, and examples of the
protagonists of early Chinese musical modernism in 1940s Shanghai are cases in
point. The interactions, collaborations and conflicts between Europeans and Chinese
in Shanghais music scene in the late 1930s and early 1940s were intensified by the
presence of a significant number of Jewish musicians fleeing Nazi Germany and
Austria. Only three of them can be counted as representatives of Western musical
modernism: Alban Bergs German student and assistant Julius Schlo (1902/73); the
pianist Karl Steiner (1912/2001), also from Schoenbergs Viennese circle; and the
Berlin composer, musician and judge Wolfgang Fraenkel (1897/1983). All three
arrived in Shanghai in 1939 as refugees from Nazism after having been detained for a
few months in concentration camps. While the lives and artistic development of
Schlo and Steiner have already been documented within research projects on exile
composers and on the history of the Schoenberg school (see, for example, Fricke
2000, 171/8; Steiner 1990, 13, for Julius Schlo; Steiner n.d.; Baier 1988, 677/81,
for Schlo, Steiner and Jeno Taka cs), Fraenkels case awaits a more comprehensive
study.
Wolfgang Fraenkel lived in Shanghai from 1939 to 1947 and taught composition
and music theory at the National Vocational Music School Shanghai (Guoli Shanghai
Yinyue Zhuanke Xuexiao), today named the Shanghai Conservatory of Music
(Shanghai Yinyue Xueyuan), from 1941 to 1947 and at the National Music School
Nanjing (Nanjing Guoli Yinyue Yuan) in 1947. During these years he also pursued an
active career as a performer, composer and writer, conducted orchestras of Chinese
musicians and reflected on the future of Chinese music. As an influential teacher and
conductor his impact on Chinese musical modernism was without doubt much
stronger than that of either Schlo or Steiner, although it was severely curtailed
during the decades of Maoist cultural policy and could thus only indirectly provide a
ground for the Second Chinese Modernity in the 1980s xinchao (New Wave)
generation of composers.
Fraenkels presence in Shanghai in the profession of musician was completely
involuntary, the result of a radical personal and cultural displacement. How then did
he come to terms with this experience? How did he act and react in an environment
that was deeply affected by diverse and often contradictory political, economical and
cultural interests? Even if no documents have yet come to light that record his
emotional reactions or his more personal considerations, the socio-historical context
suggests that the daily struggle for existence, which characterized the life of most
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Shanghai refugees, was an immediate challenge for him too, at least in the beginning.
In this situation, a mixture of determination, foresight, clearly defined goals and a
certain pragmatism (which does not mean opportunism) surely helped him to
survive, while his multi-sided musical talent allowed him to find a broad range of
music-related occupations. Within a relatively short time, Fraenkel acted as violinist,
violist, pianist, orchestral and choral conductor, teacher of music theory and
composition, writer of theoretical essays and arranger and composer for dance and
film productions. In all these activities he evidently had also to accommodate an
establishment comprising a mixture of Europeans, Japanese administrators and
Chinese collaborators. Japan-related activities, such as his arrangements of traditional
Japanese dances for Western orchestra (for the concert on 18 April 1940, see Figure 2)
or his score for a Japanese movie in 1942 (see below), might have been concessions
that, in economical and political respects, were probably unavoidable. Despite such
concessions, he never compromised at the expense of his colleagues or students. In
contrast, his commitment beyond what was existentially and economically necessary
becomes obvious from the preserved documents.
In tracking Fraenkels path through the uniquely complex and impacted exile
experience, analysing his attitude towards Chinese and European colleagues and
students and examining his contributions to the musical world of a semi-colonial and
Japanese-governed Shanghai, this article contributes new findings to the currently
still very limited research material available on Fraenkels time in Shanghai. Research
is primarily based on documents from the Wolfgang Fraenkel collections of the
Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) in Munich, Germany,
1
supple-
mented by interviews with some of his students. The Munich Library acquired the
extensive Fraenkel collections as part of the Moldenhauer Archives in June 1986. To
date, two important studies, both from 1989, have dealt with the collection: Josef
Kellermann has sorted and indexed Fraenkels musical manuscripts and published a
comprehensive register of works. (Musical works mentioned in this article are
identified according to Kellermanns register [Kel.V.].) Markus Kohler (1989)
compiled and edited Fraenkels major theoretical work Afunktionelle Musik
(A-functional Music), written in 1937/8 and revised during his Shanghai years.
Both publications prove helpful in providing a general idea of the composer and
author. A further contribution to Fraenkel research, by Australian scholar Andrew
McCredie, is scheduled for publication in 2005.
2
Basic information on Fraenkels
period in Shanghai is also provided by a number of articles by Chinese scholar Xu
Buzeng (1989, 1990, 1991a, 1991b, 1994, 1999).
Wolfgang Fraenkel: From Berlin to Shanghai
Wolfgang Fraenkels eight-year residency in Shanghai is predated by a many-sided
professional career. He was born in Berlin on 10 October 1897, the son of Philipp and
Agnes Fraenkel (nee Krenz). As a child and young man he took violin lessons with
Max Heinecke, a member of the Waldemar-Meyer String Quartet, and viola lessons
Ethnomusicology Forum 121
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with the principal viola player of the Berlin State Opera. He studied piano and music
theory at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory
3
and conducting with Julius
Pruwer of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. On graduation from high school, he
studied law at Berlin University until the beginning of the First World War, during
which he served as an artillery officer in the German army. After the war, he
completed his study of law in 1923 and worked as a judge at the Berlin court of
appeals until April 1933 when, as a consequence of Hitlers takeover of power, all Jews
were removed from public office. From 1933 until November 1938 he worked as a
freelance musician, composer and conductor, taking part in a number of
performances organized by the Kulturbund Deutscher Juden (Cultural Federation of
German Jews) / as, for example, a series of performances of Stravinskys LHistoire du
Soldat , which he conducted in 1936/7. The Kulturbund Deutscher Juden was officially
founded by Jewish artists and art producers under the direction of Kurt Singer.
However, it was actually a strategy by means of which the Nazi regime was able to
isolate all Jewish artists from mainstream cultural life and was always under complete
control of Kulturreferent (Head of Cultural Division) Hans Hinkel. Founded in June
1933, the Kulturbund was allowed to continue its activities until 11 September 1941
(see Geisel and Broder 1992).
While it is clearly possible to assert that Fraenkel was forced to turn to his musical
activities as a means of making a living as a consequence of the Nazi racist policy, the
Kellermann catalogue clearly shows that he had already developed an identity as a
composer. Among his major works were an opera after Oskar Kokoschka Der
brennende Dornbusch (The burning thorn-bush, 1926/8, Kel.V. 190), and a cantata,
Die 82. Sure des Koran (The 82nd Sura of the Koran, 1936, Kel.V. 112), that was
premiered under Fraenkels direction by the Haarlemer Orchestervereinigung with
Paula Lindberg, contralto, in Haarlem, The Netherlands, on 9 November 1937.
4
Other important works of the early period are two string quartets (1923/4, Kel.V.
19/20), the Musik mit concertanter Flote (Music with concerted flute, 1930,
Kel.V. 13), a cantata Der Wegweiser (The Signpost, also labelled Music with
concerted oboe, 1931, Kel.V. 110), and a violin and a cello sonata (1935, Kel.V. 29/
34). The early period of Fraenkels works, from 1920 to 1938, is characterized by an
absorption of contemporary trends including atonality and twelve-tone music as well
as neo-classicism. However, there is as yet no evidence that Fraenkel met Schoenberg
during the latters Berlin years at the Akademie der Kunste (1926/33) or that
Fraenkel had contact with students of Schoenbergs Berlin master class. Definitely
he was not, as is sometimes stated (for instance, by Schimmelpenninck and
Kouwenhoven (1993, 71) or Mittler (1997, 152)), a student of Schoenberg and he
therefore did not belong to the Second Viennese School, although he started to deal
with the method of twelve-tone composition rather early (probably around the early
1930s).
In late 1938, Fraenkel was detained in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in
Oranienburg near Berlin, probably as one of 6,000 Jewish males who were deported
to Sachsenhausen following the Reichskristallnacht pogrom on 9 November. As his
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mother was considered to be Aryan and he promised to leave the country
immediately, he was released from Sachsenhausen with the help of the Kulturbund
5
after one or two months, probably in late 1938 or early 1939. He left for Shanghai on
the Conte Rosso, a famous Italian Lloyd-Triestino liner, in late March or April 1939.
As he accompanied a vocal recital of the tenor Lewinson-Lewens on the first-class
deck of the liner on 22 April,
6
he must have arrived in Shanghai in late April or early
May 1939.
Fraenkels Musical Activities in Shanghai
Fraenkel came to Shanghai as one of 12,089 German and Austrian Jews who fled Nazi
Germany in 1939, the year in which the number of refugees coming to Shanghai
reached its peak. For them, Shanghai was a port of last resort, since it was the only
place in the world that accepted Jews without requiring a visa (Ristaino 2001).
Deprived of most of their personal belongings and allowed only a personal financial
funding of 10 Reichsmark (4 US$), the refugees arrived in Shanghai after a journey of
one to two months, mostly in poor material condition, and without any preparation
for living in a Chinese / though very international / city. The situation of the Jewish
refugees was partly relieved by the activities of several self-founded Jewish help
organizations, such as the Speelman committee (Committee for Assistance of
European Refugees in Shanghai) of Dutch businessman Michel Speelman, which
provided housing and a monthly stipend for a certain period to the victims of the
Nazi regime.
I have been able to reconstruct six addresses for Fraenkel in Shanghai: in November
1939 he is registered at 372 Bourgeat (Pushi Lu, today named Changle Lu) in the
French Concession.
7
Around 1941 he lived in Chengdu Lu and by early 1943 in the
Cosmopolitan Centre (Shijie Xin Cun) in Tianping Lu (pers. com. from Fraenkels
former student Sang Tong, Shanghai, November 2002). On 18 February 1943 the
Japanese government announced that all stateless refugees (designating all Jewish
refugees who had arrived in Shanghai from 1937 on) were to move to a marked off
area in Hongkou (a northern district of Shanghai) within three months. Fraenkel
relocated to the Jewish Ghetto in Hongkou (Hongkow) where, according to his
former student Qin Xixuan, he first lived in Zhabei Lu (pers. com., Qin Xixuan,
Beijing, December 2002). In the recently published List of Foreigners in Dee Lay Jao
Police District from 24 August 1944, he is registered as Dolfgang [sic!] Fraenkel,
Musician, age 48, together with his wife, Rosa Fraenkel, age 46, in 343/53 Zangyang
Lu (most likely a wrong transcription of Changyang Lu, formerly Ward Road/Huade
Lu, one of the main streets in the Hongkou Ghetto).
8
He probably moved again in
1946, to Yuyuan Lu No. 1000 in the French Concession, where he is still registered in
1947 (pers. com. from Fraenkels former students Qin Xixuan and Zhou Guangren,
Beijing, December 2002).
9
Ethnomusicology Forum 123
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Aspects of Fraenkels Position within the Musical Life of Shanghai
The materials introduced here suggest that Fraenkels activities in China can be
divided into three main fields that also have chronological implications: as
performing musician, as teacher and as composer and theorist. We may observe
him in the public domain of performance, the semi-public domain of his teaching
and the wholly private domain of creative speculation. We may measure the
pragmatism of his public engagement, the dedicated and cautious instruction of his
students, the creative accommodations of his compositions and, as theorist, his
search for a new identity as an exile from the culture that gave his creativity its
deepest meaning.
Fraenkel as Performing Musician
The programme sheets and reviews preserved in the Literary Collection testify that
Fraenkel took part in musical performances as a violinist, violist and pianist, and
acted as a conductor for both choir and orchestra (see Figure 2). Documents from the
Fraenkel collections allow us to conclude that Fraenkel started to work as a
performing musician almost immediately after his arrival in Shanghai, making public
appearances as a musician as early as October 1939, only a few months after his
arrival. Two arrangements written in Shanghai, both for viola and piano, even date
from June 1939 (G. F. Handel, Passacaglia in G minor, HWV 432/6, Kel.V. 197 and
J. S. Bach, Gavotte and Musette from the English Suite in G minor BWV 808, Kel.V.
198). He probably made these arrangements for a concert in the summer of 1939,
most likely playing the viola part himself. The Handel and Bach transcriptions are the
only two arrangements from the Shanghai period that are preserved in the Fraenkel
Collections. However, programme sheets and newspaper articles in the Literary
Collection suggest that Fraenkel probably wrote a much larger number of
arrangements, including orchestral transcriptions of solo and chamber works (see
Figure 2).
Fraenkel was a member of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra (SMO) by early 1940.
In the SMO, which gave weekly concerts every Saturday under its Italian director
Mario Paci (1878/1946), Fraenkel usually played the viola, although there is evidence
that he occasionally played both first and second violin as well.
10
The Munich
collection documents at least 16 concerts in which Fraenkel participated, but we can
assume that he participated in many more, especially as a member of the SMO until
its dissolution in May 1942.
11
Robert Bickers has written persuasively about the role of the SMO in facilitating
and providing for the increasing Chinese interest in European classical music. Of
more immediate interest here, perhaps, is Fraenkels active contribution to the
establishment of orchestras and ensembles consisting of Chinese musicians. By 1939,
when Fraenkel came to Shanghai, the SMO still consisted almost entirely of
foreigners, mostly Russians, although the first Chinese musicians had joined the
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orchestra as regular members in 1938 (Rosenson 1999, 241). (In fact, the first Chinese
who joined the orchestra was Tan Shuzhen (1907/2002), violinist and long-term
teacher at the conservatory, who was member of the orchestra from 1927 to 1929.)
The overall development of an independent Chinese musical identity beyond colonial
culture was in a very early stage. Fraenkels contribution to the establishment of
ensembles consisting entirely of Chinese musicians was therefore definitely of some
importance. The Chinese Youth Orchestra (Zhongguo Qingnian Jiaoxiang
Yuetuan), conducted by Fraenkel at least twice in 1945, was a 1942 initiative of
Fraenkels student Li Delun (1917/2001), who soon became one of Chinas foremost
Figure 1 Fraenkels portrait as it appeared in a newspaper report on the concerts of the
Shanghai Songsters, 18 and 20 February 1941 (The Shanghai Sunday Times 2 February
1941). Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Abteilung Handschriften und Seltene Drucke, ANA
496.
Ethnomusicology Forum 125
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Figure 2 Concerts from 1939 to 1946 in which Fraenkel participated. Based on Lit.
Collection, ANA 496.
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conductors, and his later wife, violinist Li Jue. Li Delun graduated from the Shanghai
Conservatory where he studied violoncello with I. Shevtzov and R. Duckson as well as
music theory with Fraenkel. Both Li Delun and Li Jue can also be found on the
musicians lists of the China Symphonic Orchestra (Zhongguo Jiaoxiang Yuetuan),
12
which Fraenkel conducted several times in demanding programmes and which was
obviously founded towards the end of the war years under difficult circumstances.
13
It seems to have been closely associated with the conservatory, since the
conservatorys president, Li Weining, is listed as advisor of the orchestra on the
programme sheets. A concert on 1 March 1946, in which Fraenkel conducted
Mendelssohns Violin Concerto and Beethovens Pastoral Symphony among other
works (Figure 3), was praised by the critic A. Dreifuss, who added the observation
that Fraenkel, a pedagogue well-known in Shanghais musical life, had made a
cultural effort. . .that can be hardly overestimated.
14
The high esteem Fraenkel enjoyed among the Shanghai music community, as well
as something of the cross-cultural currents of tension within it, is documented in a
handwritten letter (in English) addressed to Fraenkel dealing with a young female
pianist referred to as Kwong Kwong. The writer obviously means Tung Kwong-
Kwong (Dong Guang-Guang), a Chinese pianist who left China for the USA in 1947
and is married to Ma Sihong, the violin player who performed Mendelssohns Violin
Concerto under Fraenkels direction at the concert on 1 March 1946.
15
Although the
signature of this letter is difficult to decipher, the writer is very likely Mario Paci, who
directed the SMO from 1919 to 1942 and besides was a sought-after piano teacher
Figure 2 (Continued)
Ethnomusicology Forum 127
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(his pupils included the young Fou Tsung (Fu Cong, b. 1934), the most prominent
Chinese pianist today). The letter was presumably written in 1943 since the writer
refers to a period of 24 years during which he has been working in China.
Apparently, Fraenkel had planned to perform a piano concerto with one of his
orchestras, featuring Dong Guang-Guang as a soloist. Pacis letter expresses
disappointment and pride and reveals a complex personality:
My dear Fraenkel,
I am terribly sorry that circumstances (the circumstances in which they (the
Chinese) have put me) oblige me to deney [sic!] my permission to Kwong Kwong to
play with your orchestra.
We have always been good friends, and I have always expressed my sincere
appreciation and esteem for you as a very fine musician. I have always said to
everyone that there is only one musician in Shanghai and that is you. And this I
repeat now. /
I dont want therefore that you may think that in denying to play to Kwong
Kwong [unreadable] should be considered as anything against you. Personally / on
the contrary / if I have something against somebody is not against you, but against
the Chinese musicians who have failed to express a little appreciation to me who for
24 years I have given so much of my Art for them. /
They want Kwong Kwong. Why? Because [she] is the only good Chinese pianiste
[sic!]. / Why they dont come to me (they / not you) to ask me her collaboration
which of course will make a success of their concert? /
If they ask me to present her, and conduct her accompaniment, I will do it free of
charge and with pleasure. You can [do (?), unreadable] better, you should
conduct the whole programme. I dont want to do it. I will be the accompanist. /
But Kwong Kwong is the only thing left to me of my long years of work in China
and I dont give it willingly to them. / If you dont see the point, try to come and
see me
16
and I will explain still clearer. /
Your[s] M.[ario] Paci
17
The outcome of this episode is not known. However, according to pianist Zhou
Guangren (also a former student of Paci and a junior colleague of Dong Guang-
Guang around 1946), Dong performed the Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in Shanghai
before her departure to the US. Zhou is not sure if Fraenkel was the conductor at this
concert (pers. com., Beijing, December 2002).
Fraenkel as a Teacher
In 1941 Fraenkel was asked to join the faculty of the Shanghai Conservatorys theory
and composition department. According to his former student Sang Tong (b. 1923),
he was appointed by Li Weining, director of the conservatory from 1940, in summer
1941 (Sang 1990, 10). The Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the first Asian institution
for music education, founded in 1927 by Cai Yuanpei and Xiao Youmei after the
Russian conservatory model, was then still called the Guoli Yinyue Zhuanke Xuexiao
(National Vocational Music School) and it was in a very difficult situation during the
years of Japanese occupation. After war broke out between Japan and China in
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August 1937, the conservatory moved from its location in Jiangwan in the northern
part of the city to Xujiahui Street in the south west, and it had to move again several
times due to the exigencies of the war, before it was put under Japanese supervision in
Beijing Xi Lu (Western Peking Rd) in 1942. In order to avoid an obvious connection
with the Chinese government, the conservatory was even referred to as Sili Shanghai
Yinyue Yuan (Shanghai Private Music School) for a period during the war
(Schimmelpenninck and Kouwenhoven 1993, 68). It moved back to Jiangwan only
in 1946 (ibid., 68/70).
Fraenkels reputation certainly made it easier for him to establish ties with the
conservatory. For both his contact with the SMO and the conservatory his letter of
recommendation from the eminent German conductor Otto Klemperer (1885/
1973), addressed to Klemperers Japanese colleague Konoe Hidemaro (1898-1973),
could only have helped:
18
an Viscount Konoye.
Lieber Herr Kollege!
Darf ich Ihnen Herr Wolfgang Frankel aus Berlin nachdrucklichst empfehlen.
Er ist ein ausgezeichneter Musiker, der in vieler Hinsicht (vor allem als Bratschist)
zu verwenden ist.
Herzliche collegiale Grusse
Ihr Klemperer
Jan 24. 39
19
[to Viscount Konoye (/ Konoe Hidemaro)
Dear Colleague!
May I emphatically recommend to you Wolfgang Frankel from Berlin.
He is an excellent musician who can be deployed in many ways (above all as a viola
player).
Cordial and loyal regards
Yours Klemperer
January 24, 1939.]
Konoe, the brother of the Japanese war-time prime minister Konoe Fumimaro
(1891/1945, Japanese prime minister from 1937 to 1939 and from 1940 to 1941), was
a pioneer of Mahler performances in Japan and co-founder of the Tokyo New
Symphony Orchestra (today named NHK Symphony Orchestra). He had studied in
Berlin in the 1920s, made his debut as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic
Orchestra on 3 October 1933 and conducted in Germany regularly in the 1930s.
20
As
a student of Erich Kleiber, he was in close contact with leading German conductors
including Furtwangler, Stokowski and Klemperer. It could possibly be that Fraenkel
originally planned to emigrate to Japan like compatriot composer Manfred Gurlitt
(1890/1972), whom Konoe and composer Kunihiko Hashimoto helped to reach
Japan early in 1939, at the same time that Fraenkel left for Shanghai (Suchy 1992,
196). Konoe also had ties with Japanese-controlled Shanghai, since he conducted a
concert there in 1944 (pers. com., Andrew McCredie, 25 December 2002).
Support from a politically influential Japanese musician such as Konoe was surely
helpful in Shanghais music scene in the early 1940s. Even before the Japanese gained
130 C. Utz
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control over the Shanghai Conservatory, Li Weining, a pianist and composer who had
studied in Paris and Vienna in the 1930s, was collaborating with them. Li had been
head of the theory and composition department since 1937 and was appointed
president in 1940 after the death of long-term president Xiao Youmei (1884/1940).
From 1939 on, Li was also a member of the band committee of the SMO and was thus
a powerful member of the Shanghai musical establishment (Bickers 2001, 862/3). Li
played in the same concert as Fraenkel on 4 April 1942 (see Figure 2). As a former
collaborator, he was dismissed from his position in 1946.
How did Fraenkel react to the politically sensitive issue of having to come to terms
with Hitler-Germanys ally Japan, while at the same time teaching Chinese music
students at the conservatory? McCredie mentions that Fraenkel had attracted the
attention of the Guomindang and Chiang Kai-Shek (Jiang Jieshi) and that he was
even instructed to install a professional music curriculum according to Western
patterns (1999, 123).
21
To date, however, I have found no evidence to support this
argument. It seems unlikely that the Guomindang paid much attention to music
education during the struggles of Japanese occupation. Still, this open question
should be considered by future Fraenkel-researchers.
My general impression is that Fraenkel tried to stay away from politics as far as
possible and to concentrate on teaching, performing and composing. Considering the
extremely difficult and ambivalent situation for teachers at the Shanghai Con-
servatory of Music during the war years, one can suppose, however, that the most
important period for Fraenkels activities as a teacher might in fact have been between
September 1945 and his departure to the US in the middle of 1947.
Fraenkel started, in September 1941, by teaching (tonal) harmony according to
the schedule. Later on he also taught strict and free counterpoint, musical analysis,
form, orchestration and composition (Sang 1990, 10). After the end of the war, he
was introduced to the National Music School Nanjing (Nanjing Guoli Yinyue Yuan)
by his student Ding Shande (1911/95). Ding was supposed to work in Nanjing as a
piano teacher, but, since the school building had been destroyed during the war,
teaching activities did not start in Nanjing before early 1947. Thus, Fraenkel taught in
Nanjing only for two condensed terms from January to July 1947 (pers. com. with
Wang Zhengya, Beijing, December 2002), while simultaneously continuing his
teaching activities in Shanghai. Apart from teaching at the conservatory, Fraenkel
gave private lessons in his apartment. In fact, it seems that he tried to enhance
his activity as a private teacher, since his income from private lessons was higher
than that at the conservatory (see also Schimmelpenninck and Kouwenhoven 1992,
144).
A comprehensive list of Fraenkels Chinese students is difficult to compile and
would require long-term research. As a start, Figure 4 includes 23 names, some of
whom are known today as prominent Chinese composers and musicians. Since
Fraenkel usually gave individual lessons, this list also suggests an intense teaching
schedule. Three accounts by Fraenkels former students Ding Shande (Dai 1991),
Sang Tong (1990) and Qin Xixuan (2001, 18/19) give detailed descriptions of his
Ethnomusicology Forum 131
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teaching methods and the contents of the theory and composition lessons. Except for
Sang Tong, all former students report that Fraenkel taught them conventional
harmony only, rather than contemporary music or twelve-tone technique. However,
he is praised in all accounts not only as a very precise and competent teacher, but also
Figure 4 List of Fraenkels students in China.
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as a very unconventional and non-conformist mind. Zhou Guangren, who later
became one of Chinas leading pianists, reports that he once told her to throw the
dice in order to find out the best harmonic progression for a certain melody, rather
than limiting herself to conventional harmonic rules (pers. com., Beijing, December
2002).
Fraenkels documents from the Shanghai period include extensive handwritten
musical analyses of music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, Hindemith
et al.
22
as well as a substantial file of teaching materials for counterpoint and other
musical disciplines, of which some were obviously conceived for publication.
23
These
documents suggest that Fraenkels instructions were very demanding and approached
Western music history from a distinctive modernist viewpoint that was close to the
Second Viennese School, but also included references to other concepts / specifically
to the theory of Ernst Kurth, which was based on the conception of a kinetic energy
within the musical structure. Even this cautious introduction of contemporary
Western music thought would probably have appeared radical when placed against
the prevailing public preference for a 19th-century conception of classical and
romantic music. In fact, Fraenkel used both Schoenbergs Harmonielehre (Vienna
1911,
3
1922) and Kurths Grundlagen des linearen Kontrapunkts: Bachs melodische
Polyphonie (Bern 1917;
2
Berlin 1922;
3
Berlin 1927) as teaching materials (Sang 1990,
10). For pre-baroque counterpoint he mainly referred to examples by Girolamo
Frescobaldi, rather than to Palestrina (ibid.). Fraenkels appreciation of Frescobaldi is
also documented in Afunktionelle Musik (Kohler 1989, 262) and in his arrangement
of Frescobaldis Five Organ Pieces (1957/8, Kel.V. 199).
Sang Tong probably had the most extensive contact with Fraenkel as a teacher.
24
He
started to work with Fraenkel at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1941. Fraenkel first
taught him basic harmony and counterpoint, but from the beginning talked to him
about the need for a renewal in composition. Sang Tong studied 20th-century music
in the library, including works by Debussy, Stravinsky, Vaughan-Williams, Kodaly,
Barto k and Scriabin. Advised by his teacher, he also studied the scores of Gustav
Mahler who was introduced to him by Fraenkel as our great master. This reveals
Fraenkels high degree of identification with the Second Viennese School. According
to Sang Tong (1990, 11), Fraenkel even had brought an original Mahler manuscript to
Shanghai that he showed to his master student. It seems unlikely, however, that
Fraenkel actually owned a Mahler autograph.
Fraenkel was reluctant to talk about his own music, but one day in early 1947 he
showed one of his pieces to his students Sang Tong and Yang Yushi / probably one of
the three twelve-tone Preludes , composed in 1945 (see below) / and analysed it with
regard to the use of twelve-tone technique (Sang 1990, 11; pers. com., November
2002). Sang Tongs first major composition Yejing (Night Piece, Figure 5) for violin
and piano was completed in February 1947 with Fraenkels assistance, some months
before Fraenkel left Shanghai for the US.
25
Sangs next piece Zai na yaoyuan de difang
(In a land, far, far away) for piano, completed later in 1947, was already written
under the direction of Julius Schlo, Fraenkels successor.
26
These two works are the
Ethnomusicology Forum 133
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first atonal compositions written by a Chinese composer. Although they could not
have much effect due to political changes in China after 1949, they can be seen as key
works of 20th-century Chinese music, because of their original combination of
Chinese and Western techniques and materials. Yejing and Zai na yaoyuan de difang
Figure 5 Sang Tong: Yejing (Night Piece, 1947), p. 1. First Chinese twelve-tone
composition, written towards the end of Sangs studies with Fraenkel.
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were both premiered through the medium of Julius Schlo at the American School of
the United States Information Service Shanghai in 1948. Yejing was performed by the
young Chinese violinist Zhang Guoling and Austrian pianist Karl Steiner,
27
Zai na
yaoyuan de difang later in the same year by Steiner.
A more comprehensive analysis of the accounts of Fraenkels students and of the
extensive teaching materials collected in Munich would not only provide substantial
insights into Fraenkels musical thought and his teaching methods, but could also
help to understand a major shift in modern Chinese music history. Besides praising
the energy, integrity, and originality of their teacher, a noticeable number of his
former students affirm that his instructions had the deepest impact on their own
understanding of music in general. This makes even more sense if one considers that
Fraenkel / according to Sang Tong and according to his own writings (see below) /
supported a kind of Chinese music that would always remain conscious of Chinese
tradition and aim at a synthesis of contemporary Western and traditional Chinese
sources: Like Tan Xiaolin, he supported the idea of a synthesis between the spirit of
folk music and new compositional techniques as an influential means of musical
creation (Sang 1990, 11, authors translation).
Thus far, I have found no evidence of an interaction of Fraenkel with Tan Xiaolin
(1911/48) or Fritz Kuttner (1903/91). Kuttner arrived in Shanghai in May 1939,
probably shortly after Fraenkel (Schimmelpenninck and Kouwenhoven 1993, 71/2).
He taught music theory at St Johns University from 1944 on and later worked as a
music critic for China Press. Tan Xiaolin returned from his studies with Paul
Hindemith at Yale University in 1946 and became head of the theory and
composition department of the conservatory. It is likely, but unproven, that Fraenkel
met and exchanged ideas with both these important figures of the 1940s in Shanghai.
Fraenkels Shanghai Compositions
Fraenkel contributed actively to the musical life of Shanghai as a teacher and a
musician, but not as a composer. To my knowledge, not a single one of his works was
performed during his years in China (nor after his departure to the US), except for
the above-mentioned arrangements of pieces by other composers / probably purely
pragmatic applications of his creative skills. However, Fraenkel did have a remarkably
creative period in Shanghai as a composer. In contrast to many other refugee
composers, he neither experienced a serious compositional crisis nor turned to more
commercially attractive genres like popular songs or film music (although a German
note in the Shanghai Jewish Chronicle of 9 August 1942 mentioned that he was
rehearsing a film score for a Japanese movie with the Shanghai Philharmonic
Society).
28
Although only two compositions were completed in Shanghai, Fraenkel worked on
six different projects during these eight years. They include almost all genres: an
opera, symphonic works, vocal music, and piano pieces. The two completed works
are the Drei Orchesterlieder (Three Orchestral Songs, Kel.V. 113/15) after Chinese
Ethnomusicology Forum 135
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poems from the Tang and Song Dynasties, translated into German by Vinzenz
Hundhausen, composed between 9 May and 24 September 1941 (Fraenkels only
completed major work of his Shanghai years) and Drei zweistimmige Praeludien
(Three Two-part Preludes, Kel.V. 80/2) for piano (1945), short twelve-tone
compositions that were presumably designed for teaching and study purposes.
Fraenkel had planned to combine several Inventions (of which only one was
completed) with the Preludes, as the original title Twelve-Tone Preludes and
Inventions suggests. In 1964, he edited the three Preludes in a volume of his piano
works, but did not include the invention (Kellermann 1989, 92). Fraenkel also worked
on four other large-scale projects / three orchestral works and one opera / that were
left unfinished.
29
The Three Orchestral Songs provide remarkable evidence for the composers
response to Chinese culture during his Shanghai period. In fact, Fraenkel again
departs significantly here from the average profile of exile composers, who in general
rarely changed or adapted their style or their compositional thoughts in response to
their new surroundings. Fraenkel, in contrast, not only based this song cycle on
Chinese poems, but also studied Chinese and Japanese traditional music from
recordings, reflected on the future of Chinese music and adjusted details of his
musical theory according to his new experiences in Asia (see below). For his Three
Orchestral Songs, Fraenkel chose three poems by two Tang- and one Song-Dynasty
poets that all refer to spring in their titles / a spontaneous choice, perhaps, since the
composition was begun in spring 1941 / as follows:
No. 1 Fruhlingsnacht [Spring night] (Chun xiao) by Su Dong-Bo (Su Shi,
1036/1101)
No. 2 Am fruhen Fruhlingstage [On an early spring day] (Chun xiao) by Meng
Haoran (689/740)
No. 3 Ein Flotenlied in Lau-Yang [A flute song in Lau-Yang] (Chunye Luoyang xin
di ) by Li Tai-Bo (699/762)
Fraenkel must have taken Hundhausens translation from the publication
Chinesische Dichter in deutscher Sprache, mit 2 Bildern nach Originalen des Wang
Ting-Dsche (Beijing, Leipzig, 1926). Vinzenz Hundhausen (1878/1955), whose
Chinese name was Hong Taosheng, had come to China in 1923 as a lawyer to
administer the estate of the German millionaire Pape in Tianjin (Walravens 1999). He
stayed in Beijing as professor for literature at Beijing University, but he was dismissed
in 1938 due to his passive resistance to the Japanese. After working as a printer during
the war years, he was invited to lecture again at Beijing University in 1949, but had to
resign shortly afterwards due to his feeble health. In 1954, he was expelled from China
and had to return to Grevenbroich, his native town in Germany, where he died one
year later. His German Nachdichtungen (poetic transformations) of classical Chinese
poems were generally based on word-for-word translations by his Chinese friends and
students. In fact, the three poems that Fraenkel used can be found written into his
136 C. Utz
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Ethnomusicology Forum 137
D o w n l o a d e d B y : [ T B T A K E K U A L ] A t : 1 5 : 0 8 3 F e b r u a r y 2 0 0 9
score in a manner reminiscent of Hundhausens technique: the Chinese characters are
written on the score sheet and an English word-by-word translation is provided on an
overlying transparent paper, which allows a deeper understanding of the original for a
reader not capable of reading the Chinese script (Figure 6). At first, Fraenkel confused
the (similar) titles and the authors of the first two movements several times,
suggesting that he had no active knowledge of Chinese characters.
30
All three songs are based on the same twelve-tone row. The analysis given by
Fraenkel in the score identifies a quasi-symmetrical structure. While the first and the
last movement exclusively use the four basic derivations / original, inversion,
retrograde and retrograde inversion / as well as the transpositions a fourth upwards
(I) and a fourth downwards (III) respectively, the second movement uses the tritone-
transposition and two related rows. More specifically, it seems that the Chinese lyrics
inspired Fraenkel to use more sensual, at times almost impressionistic colours that
can hardly be found in his earlier works. In the second movement, for example,
Fraenkel employs the very unusual combination of overtone-glissandi on the
trombone with tremolo and arpeggios of the strings as a background to a floating
melodic line in the oboe (bar 23ff.). Despite such colouristic experiments, the quality
of the work can be seen in the fact that Fraenkel refrains from any kind of plain
exoticism and rather tries to render the atmosphere of the texts with his personal
(Western) means. The work was not performed in China, but it seems that the
premiere might have taken place after Fraenkel had moved to the US, since the score
bears inscriptions obviously made during a rehearsal process.
Transcriptions of Chinese and Japanese Traditional Music
Fraenkel also approached traditional Chinese and Japanese music, although, in the
case of Chinese music, mainly after his time in Shanghai. In the Munich Fraenkel
collection there are two files containing several pages of transcriptions taken from
gramophone recordings.
31
The file Chinese Music from Records comprises 22
pages and enumerates three titles on the first page next to a note referring to the
record Chinese Classical Music, Lyrichord LP, LL 27:
32
the Qin-classic Parting at
Yangkwan (Yangguan san die), Liu Tianhuas (1895/1932) Soliloquy of a
Convalescent (Bing zhong yin) and Liu Tianhuas March (Guangming xing/
March towards Brightness).
33
However, only the two Liu Tianhua pieces are
transcribed in a sketch-like manner. The record Chinese Classical Music was
released in 1956 and contains eight pieces played on five different instruments by
Chinese master Wei Zhongle (b. 1908). Three more melodic sketches, which I have
not yet been able to identify, can be found in the file; they may be compositional
improvisations by Fraenkel aimed at finding a Chinese tone. The first of these
sketches (in 3/4 metre) was incorporated into the short piece Chinese Song
(Kel.V. 35).
The transcriptions of Japanese music in the file Japanische Platten (Japanese
Records) were clearly at least in part connected with Fraenkels arrangements of two
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Japanese dances / Ombacha and Three Masks (Improvisation on a Japanese
Theme) (see Figure 2) / for the dance performance of Slavina-Brown and Indira
Devi on 18 April 1940 under the direction of Aaron Avshalomov (1894/1965), and
thus parts of the file probably date from the beginning of Fraenkels Shanghai period.
It would seem that these two arrangements were based on transcriptions from the
record Om-bat-tha (Victor-Records No. 52282-a [3740]), the second part of the
file. The first part contains more extensive transcriptions of Japanese traditional
music, namely a detailed score of the gagaku classic Etenraku. Fraenkel very likely
transcribed it from the record Music over the sky (Victor-Records, No. 13487
[8745/46]) that is mentioned on the first page of the file.
34
Fraenkel clearly thought of
arranging Etenraku for Western orchestra since the file also contains a note for a small
orchestral setting for Music over the sky (three flutes, three clarinets, three
trumpets, celesta, harp, percussion, eight violins, four violas, four cellos, four double
basses). Fraenkel had a Western orchestration in mind for another transcription / of
a vocal piece, probably from the LP The dance of the old lion (Victor-Records No.
I. 54192 [9399/9400]) / as there are several remarks in the score concerning the use
of Western instruments. In sum, the transcriptions show considerable efforts to grasp
the idiosyncrasies of Chinese and Japanese music / efforts that not many of
Fraenkels contemporaries were willing to make.
Texts and Theoretical Works
In December 1941, Fraenkel published the first part of his article Grundprobleme der
Neuen Musik (Fundamental Problems of New Music) in the German journal Der
Kreis: Monatszeitschrift fur Kunst (The Circle. Monthly Periodical for the Arts) of
which only one issue appeared (Figure 7). It seems that the second part of Fraenkels
article, announced on the last page of this issue, was never published and may never
have been written. As in his major theoretical work A-functional Music, it becomes
clear from this article that Fraenkel / who was in many respects indebted to
Schoenbergs conception of new music, but had the advantage of being an outsider
since he was not a Schoenberg pupil / conceives of new music in clear opposition to
classical music. The analogy to language helps him to differentiate this opposition:
new and classical music are both analogous to language, since they are basically
demonstrations of imagination and thoughts. Their difference lies on a secondary
level that Fraenkel labels Tonsprache (tone language) which is, however, intimately
related to the first level (demonstration of imagination and thoughts). Both new and
classical music are meaningful tone languages in their own right, but based on
fundamentally different (technical) principles.
The same emphasis on a substantial difference between new and classical music is
the basic argument of another text, written in Shanghai and more relevant to the
China-specific situation in which Fraenkel lived and worked. Entitled Music-
Development?, it can be found both as a typescript and a handwritten draft in the
Fraenkel collections.
35
It was apparently published in the first edition of Music
Ethnomusicology Forum 139
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Weekly, a weekly paper produced by the Guanghua Daily, at the request of his student
Zhu Jian (b. 1924) who acted as an editor of the paper.
36
There is an obvious
connection between the text Music-Development? and Fraenkels experiences both
as a teacher of Chinese composition students and as a conductor of an orchestra of
Chinese musicians. It reveals much of Fraenkels open-minded attitude towards the
Chinese and his knowledge of the difficulties that Chinese musicians were facing by
the 1940s. The corrected typescript bears the date October 1945 (Fraenkels
sometimes non-idiomatic English and orthography have not been modified):
Music-Development?
One of the most important problems regarding the future music-life in China is
the relationship between chinese and western music. Combination of these both
Figure 7 Der Kreis (Shanghai, December 1941), Table of Contents. Bayerische
Staatsbibliothek, Abteilung Handschriften und Seltene Drucke, ANA 496.
140 C. Utz
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divergent branches of music-art seems advisable on account of the fundamental
character of western music: to conceive and write c o n c e r t e d music.
The western musician can not shape a new development of chinese music, he
only can prepare the way, perhaps try to exert some kind of influence; the
completion must be carried out by chinese composers. It will be up to them, first to
absorb the technical and sensational items of western art, and than to find out ways
to form connexions to the existing (old) chinese music without disturbing its
characteristic peculiarities.
To judge the prospects of a development of such kind is rather difficult, as there
are not made even beginnings yet. I am convinced that it will be of no use for
chinese musicians to create typical western music: such work means neither
development nor progress; maybe it is remarkable and noteworthy, but it remains
to be some kind of copy, as the innermost feeling is heterogeneous. The essential
knowledge of western music should be the basis only, which it is necessary to
advance from, an advance which may in fact hold out incalculable prospects.
To my mind the technical starting-point for attempts of such kind is not the
music of the c l a s s i c period of western music. The newest development in
Europe demonstrated that the classic period is some terminated unit which hardly
can produce new offsprings of real value. The modern western music, which is
developed since about 40 years, found its point of contact in the events of the
preclassic music and counterpoint which give more freedom and quite other
possibilities of evolution. Here seems to be the way to insert the fundamental
princip of concerted music to a system which is inwardly not connected with the
western music-ideas.
Wolfgang Fraenkel, Oktober 1945
Several efforts were made by Chinese reformers and researchers / like Wang
Guangqi (1892/1936), Liu Tianhua or Yang Yinliu (1899/1984), who criticized the
spreading influence of Western music in China / to reflect on a synthesis of Chinese
and European music in the wake of the May 4th movement. This criticism often had
a nationalistic accent and / in contrast to Fraenkels thinking / was formulated on
the basis of the Chinese reception of Western classical or romantic music. Yang Yinliu
wrote in his important 1944 Draft History of Ancient Chinese Music (Zhongguo gudai
yinyue shi gang):
Western music has already had an affect on Chinese culture, and we have
encountered problems here which we have never met with before. . ..Consequently,
the development of Western music / unproblematic in its own context / is highly
problematic in China, which has its own history, life customs, and national
background. . ..Part of this problem with regard to Western music and national
music in China emerges from their mutual relationship; its future resolution must
also be present in their interrelationship: the proper course of development of each,
very probably, will be a common one. . ..National music has so far followed its own
path, but to develop further, Western music, rather than being swallowed whole in
China must be properly and naturally digested. (quoted in Shen Qia 1999, 14)
Fraenkels perspective must thus have seemed new and fresh to his readers,
although most probably only a few had a very vague idea of the newest development
in Europe he was writing about. Considering later developments of Chinese music,
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particularly during the 1980s, Fraenkels ideas can be seen as prescient in that he
argued in favour of a necessary and desirable combination of (traditional) Chinese
and modern Western music. In his view, the Chinese themselves would have to play a
major part in this rapprochement and Western music is not labelled fundamentally
superior to Chinese music, as basically most Europeans and also most Chinese
intellectuals had usually claimed. Besides, Fraenkel implicitly criticizes the imitation
of Western classic-cum-romantic music by Chinese composers that, in the 1930s, had
started to build the basis of what was later described as Chinas pentatonic
romanticism (for this term, see Mittler 1997, 33) / for example, in the works of He
Luting, Huang Zi, Xian Xinghai or Ma Sicong / and which remained the
predominant style of Chinas official music until the end of the Maoist period
(if not until the present day). Instead, Fraenkel suggests that Chinese musicians
should learn from the emergence of modern music in Europe and even implies that
pre-classical music might be a possible source of inspiration for Chinese musicians.
Only in the 1980s have Fraenkels ideas (in part) become reality: The merging process
of traditional Chinese music and Western modernity has brought forward a unique
musical language that has been comprehensively analysed in the context of Chinese/
East Asian 20th-century music (see Mittler 1997; Utz 2002).
Fraenkels treatise A-functional Music, which he revised in Shanghai, is his major
theoretical accomplishment and can be described as a unique and comprehensive
study of modern European music from 1910 to 1935. Fraenkels major points of
reference are the Second Viennese School, Hindemith and a broad number of music
theorists from Riemann to Yasser, but most prominently Ernst Kurth and his doctrine
of musical tension.
37
A-functional music is Fraenkels term for what is usually
referred to as atonal music and implies a scepticism towards the 19th-century idea
of musical functionalism, as reflected for instance in Hugo Riemanns influential
theory of the tonal functions of harmony. Rather, Fraenkel basically conceives of
music as kinetic energy in the tradition of Kurth. In his introductory chapter, there
are a number of inserts that show the influence of his exile experience. Talking about
general musical principles, he limits the concept of music as a demonstration of
musical thoughts to the occidental musical area and he criticizes those who think
that Chinese or Arabian musical traditions cannot be labelled as music (Kohler
1989, 16, 18/19). In these lines, it can be clearly felt how Fraenkel accommodated to
his exile experiences, while at the same time insisting on his identity as a modern
Western musician, an identity which already becomes evident from the project of
revising his extensive theoretical work without seeing any chance of its publication.
After Shanghai
After the Shanghai period on which this article has focused, Fraenkel fled the Chinese
civil war and emigrated to the United States,
38
where he had to reorganize his life
once again. What were the psychological effects on him of this second refugee
experience and how did it affect his musical performance, compositional output and
142 C. Utz
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pedagogical work? Apart from working as a conductor of the Music Workshop
Orchestra, he made a living as a private music teacher, as a copyist for music
publishers and as an arranger and composer for documentaries and TV.
39
But he
continued to compose (art) music, and his compositions finally achieved some
international recognition for him as a composer. He won the Busoni-Prize Bozen
1957 for his Variationen und Fantasien uber ein Thema von Arnold Schoenberg
(Variations and Fantasies on a Theme by Arnold Schoenberg, 1954, Kel.V. 72), the
Queen Elizabeth Prize Luttich, Belgium, 1962 for his Musik fur Streichquartett
(1948/9, Kel.V. 21) and, most remarkably, a prize from the Teatro La Scala in Milan
in 1965 for his Symphonische Aphorismen (Symphonic Aphorisms, 1959, Kel.V. 11),
a work premiered in Milan with Bruno Maderna as a conductor on 21 October 1966.
Wolfgang Fraenkel died at the age of 85 in a Los Angeles hospital. He was a
remarkably creative composer and wrote 193 works of which 19 were not completed,
including four of the compositions he worked on in Shanghai. Most works are
preserved in Fraenkels calligraphically written manuscripts; only a few scores were
published during his lifetime.
40
Conclusion
This presentation of selected materials from the Fraenkel collections in Munich can
provide little more than an elementary point of departure for more detailed and
comprehensive research on this important period of Fraenkels development as both
an artist and a teacher. An analysis of his refugee experience allows us to gain
poignant insights into the specific challenges and artistic contexts exiled composers in
Asia were facing while at the same time highlighting a crucial turning point in
modern Chinese music history. The materials discussed suggest that Fraenkel was not
only a versatile musician with a great talent for teaching and an informed view of
Western music, both traditional and modern, which he was able to pass to his
students, but he also had an active interest in assisting Chinese composers and
musicians to discover a meaningful way out of colonial and post-colonial cultural
struggle. Judging from his activities as a conductor of orchestras consisting of Chinese
musicians, as a theorist, writer and composer, it becomes apparent that Fraenkel was
one of the few who were willing to confront ethnic separation and prejudice. He
refrained from acting as a missionary of Western musical modernism, while still
providing his students with a highly original and individual view of Western music
history. In his public and semi-public musical life, Fraenkel was surely pragmatic
rather than idealistic / anything else would have simply been self-defeating in the
hard, and at times potentially life-threatening, situation of emigre Jews in Shanghai at
the time. Nonetheless, in his private dedication to completing his theoretical study of
the products of a musical culture with which he profoundly identified, but from
which he had been expelled and to which he never returned, he reveals himself as
idealistic at the most profoundly personal level.
Ethnomusicology Forum 143
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It is rare to be able to see, via documentation and the evidence of written works,
the process by which musical influence takes place / an influence flowing both from
Fraenkel to his Chinese students and from Chinese culture into Fraenkels music and
thinking, in however limited and tentative a way. Due to the political upheavals that
followed in the decades after he left Shanghai, Fraenkels direct influence on Chinese
music history was evidently not decisive and of only short duration. Sang Tongs and
maybe other, less known experiments in early Chinese musical modernism in the late
1940s were simply swept away by what was considered revolutionary music from
1949 onwards. Still these early efforts to combine Chinese and Western musical
thinking represent crucial links in the chain of development of Chinese 20th-century
music that finally resulted in the bursting forth of contemporary Chinese music in
the 1980s and 1990s. Wolfgang Fraenkels story thus allows us to access an important
moment in Chinese music history in gripping detail. A rediscovery of this regrettably
forgotten refugee composer and writer in China, Europe and the US is not only
desirable, but a highly visible necessity.
144 C. Utz
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Ethnomusicology Forum 145
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146 C. Utz
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Acknowledgements
The present article is the result of my 2002 research in the Moldenhauers Archives of the Bayerische
Staatsbibliothek Munich and of a short research period in Shanghai and Beijing in November 2002,
which was supported by the O

sterreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft (Austrian Research


Association). The text is based on a lecture presented during the 75th anniversary of the Shanghai
Conservatory of Music on 29 November 2002. I should like to thank Profs Yang Liqing and Jia
Daqun for inviting me to Shanghai; Prof. Andrew McCredie, Prof. Margaret Kartomi, Dr Jonathan
Stock, Dr Kay Dreyfus and Prof. Xu Buzeng for their discussions of important details and
arguments of the text; and Dr Robert Bickers, Dr Barbara Mittler and Zhang Yi for providing
valuable additional information and documents. Shorter and differently focused articles on the
same subject appear in Chinese and German in Utz (2003, 2004).
Notes
[1] The Fraenkel Collections consist of two major sections: Musikalischer Nachlass Wolfgang
Fraenkel (Musical Collection Wolfgang Fraenkel; henceforth Mus. Coll.), Bayerische
Staatsbibliothek Munich, Moldenhauer Archive, Musikabteilung; Mus. ms. 19557/19828
and Literarischer Nachlass Wolfgang Fraenkel (Literary Collection Wolfgang Fraenkel;
henceforth Lit. Coll.), Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich, Abteilung Handschriften und
Seltene Drucke; ANA 496, Sch. 1/6.
[2] Some of the information in this article is based on an oral summary of McCredies research.
See also McCredie (1999, 120/7).
[3] The Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory was founded in 1893 out of an amalgamation of
Karl Klindworths (1830/1916) and Xaver Scharwenkas (1850/1924) piano conservatories. It
occupied a leading position in Berlins musical life for several decades.
[4] Programme sheet in Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 5, Programme; newspaper reviews in Lit.
Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 5, Zeitungsartikel und Kritiken.
[5] Cf. Letter to Hans Moldenhauer 17 January 1973, Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 5,
Korrespondenz.
[6] Programme sheet in Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 5, Programme.
[7] Emigranten Adressbuch fur Shanghai; mit einem Anhang: Branchen-Register, facsimile reprint
of the original edition published in Shanghai by the New Star Company in 1939 (Hong Kong,
1995).
[8] The list is published on CD-ROM with Armbruster, Kohlstruck and Muhlberger (2000).
Unfortunately the facsimile of the page on which Fraenkel is listed (p. 65) cannot be found on
the CD-ROM (p. 85 is wrongly provided instead).
[9] This address is also listed in the Shi Sheng Tongxun Lu (Record of Teachers and Students) of
the National Conservatory of Music Shanghai, July 1947, p. 2.
[10] Cf. concert on 21 January 1940, Figure 2 and Xu (1991b: 1/2). For a history and analysis of
the culture politics surrounding the SMO see also Bickers (2001, 835/75).
[11] The SMO survived the years 1942/5 under the auspices of the Shanghai Philharmonic Society
and was re-installed at the festive opening of the Lyceum Theatre on 18 November 1945
(Bickers 2001, 865/6).
[12] This orchestra must not be confused with the Zhonghua Jiaoxiang Yuetuan that was set up in
1941 by Ma Sicong (1912/87) in Chongqing, the capital of Free China from 1937 to 1945,
with He Luting (1903/99) as a conductor. Also, it seems that there is no direct link between
Fraenkels China Symphonic Orchestra and the orchestra of the same name in the PRC that
was founded in 1956 under its original name Zhongguo Zhongyang Yuetuan (Central Chinese
Orchestra).
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[13] Review of the concert on 1 March 1946 by A. Dreifuss (Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 5,
Zeitungsartikel und Kritiken).
[14] Ibid.
[15] She studied with Artur Schnabel in New York and, together with her husband, continues her
career as a pianist and teacher to the present day.
[16] Fraenkel wrote a note with the address Kings App. House 345/Room 7 on the rst page of
the letter. If this proves to have been Pacis address, the note would suggest that Fraenkel
indeed went to see Paci in order to discuss this issue with him.
[17] Lit. Collection, ANA 496, Sch. 5, Korrespondenz.
[18] In this letter, Konoe is addressed by Klemperer with his title of nobility Viscount (Konoye
is an alternative spelling of Konoes name). Klemperers letter bears the date 24 January 1939,
which suggests that Fraenkel had already been released from Sachsenhausen by January 1939
and had turned to Klemperer for assistance during the preparations for his departure.
[19] Lit. Collection, ANA 496, Sch. 5, Korrespondenz.
[20] Konoe conducted a concert of the Berlin Philharmonic on 16 December 1938.
[21] This information is obviously based on a similar statement in the Fraenkel entry in Bakers
Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Slonimsky 2001, 1164/5).
[22] Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 2 contains 16 musico-analytic manuscripts, of which some are very
extensive (analyses of Bachs Well-Tempered Clavier, part I, cover 76 pages, an analysis of
Brahms Piano Sonata No. 3 covers 35 pages).
[23] Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 1 contains all counterpoint manuscripts. See also McCredie (1999,
124) and Kohler (1989, xiv/xvi). One of the manuscripts is dated Shanghai, 3.2.1944. ANA
496, Sch. 3 contains teaching materials for conducting, form analysis, harmony (193 pages),
orchestration (more than 200 pages) and ANA 496, Sch. 6 editions of scores by Bach,
Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky and theoretical writings with annotations by Fraenkel.
[24] The following material is based on Sang (1990 and pers. com., Shanghai, November 2002) and
an unpublished interview with Sang Tong (Mittler 1992).
[25] For a detailed analysis of this piece, see Zheng Yinglie (1982, 106/16).
[26] For a discussion of this piece, see Kouwenhoven (1990, 85) and Mittler (1997, 350/1).
[27] Zhou Guangren turned the pages for Steiner during this premiere. Shortly afterwards violinist
Zhang Guoling went abroad to study in France and died there in a car accident (pers. com.,
Xu Buzeng, Shanghai).
[28] ANA 496, Sch. 5, Zeitungsartikel und Kritiken.
[29] In Shanghai, Fraenkel continued work on his Third Symphony (Kel.V. 3), begun on 4
December 1937 in Berlin, until 23 March 1940. The score is interrupted in the 1st movement
on page 31. There are sketches for ve different movements. The 4th Symphony (Kel.V. 4) is
interrupted in the 2nd movement on page 94. The composition was begun on 10 May 1942,
Fraenkel continued working on it until 6 May 1944 and there are sketches for the 3rd
movement. A 4th movement was planned, but not begun. Holle / Weg / Erde (Hell / Path
/ Earth, Kel.V. 191), an opera fragment based on a play by Georg Kaiser (begun on 19
September 1944), is interrupted after bar 496 (Act 1, Scene 1). Three acts were designed.
Fraenkel continued to work on the opera much later, on 10 February 1974, but the sketch was
again left unnished. Finally, the Musik fur groes Orchester (Music for Grand Orchestra,
Kel.V. 8) is interrupted in the 2nd movement (bar 208). The score is dated 2 November 1946/
12 September 1948, which means that it was composed at the end of his time in Shanghai as
well as on the way to the US. Inscriptions on this score mark the respective cities in which it
was written (see note 38).
[30] In the supplemented calligraphies of the score, the poem for the second movement is
identied as No. 1 (p. 50b) and the poem for the rst movement as No. 2 (p. 50a). To
some extent, this confusion was already caused by the edition of Hundhausens
translation: Hundhausen wrongly listed Meng Haorans poem under the name of Wang
148 C. Utz
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Anshi (Wang An-Shih), a mistake that was transferred to Fraenkels score, which bears
calligraphies of the poets names before each movement. On page 14a (before the second
movement) the name of Wang Anshi is rendered instead of Meng Haoran.
[31] Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 4, Chinese Music from Records and Japanische Platten. The
transcriptions in Chinese Music from Records are written on US score sheets (Hollywood
Music Papers), the rst part of Japanische Platten on a US Manuscript Book. Only the
second part of this le is written on sheets without specied producer. While it is evident that
the Chinese pieces were transcribed after 1956 (the year when the record was released), the
Japanese music transcriptions must at least partly date from the Shanghai years (see below).
[32] A minor error; the correct label-number is LL 722.
[33] Fraenkels note next to the March: for Hsiao [xiao] (Phoenix ute with 6 holes) [Ti-Tze
[dizi ] is a horizontal ute] is rather misleading since this March (Guang Ming Xing) is a
well-known piece for solo-erhu. On the Lyrichord LP, the march is preceded by a Temple
Meditation for xiao. The instrument of the march is not specied on the LP cover, but the
original solo-erhu version has been recorded.
[34] Apart from the fact that two of his arrangements were included in the dance performance,
there are two other reasons for assuming that Fraenkel worked on these transcriptions already
during his Shanghai period: on one of the pages of the Etenraku score, the composer
left a note with a Shanghai address (Mr. Klein/Musiker [musician]/599 Tongshan Road
House 88); second, on the reverse side of a sketch for his Three Orchestral Songs (1941)
(Mus. Collection; Mus. ms. 19658) there are two lines with chords entitled SHO

Mundorgel,
sechsstimmig u. mehr? (Mouth Organ, six-part and more?) that contain six of the eleven sho-
chords (aitake) in gagaku.
[35] Typescript in Lit. Coll., ANA 496, Sch. 3; handwritten draft among the sketches for his opera
Holle, Weg, Erde (Mus. Coll., Mus. ms. 19605, Beilage: unnumbered sheet verso and Mus. ms.
19605: page 96 verso).
[36] E-mail communication with Zhang Yi, Shanghai, 31 May 2003, who interviewed Zhu Jian on
his teacher Fraenkel. Since Fraenkel counted the words in the handwritten version, it can be
assumed that the text was indeed conceived for publication. The rst and only edition of
Music Weekly also included articles by Fu Cong and Shen Zhibai.
[37] Fraenkel had studied Kurths four major publications in great detail, as revealed by his notes
collected in the 71-page le Kritische Notizen uber musikwissenschaftliche Veroffentlichun-
gen (March/October 1937) that contains commentaries on Kurths books Grundlagen des
linearen Kontrapunkts , Romantische Harmonik und ihre Krise in Wagners Tristan, Bruckner and
Musikpsychologie.
[38] His voyage from Shanghai to Los Angeles can be reconstructed from the handwritten score of
his fragment Musik fur groes Orchester (Music for Grand Orchestra, 1946/8, Kel.V. 8),
which includes the following place names on the score: Shanghai (page 1); Nanjing (page 35);
Kobe (page 36); Yokohama (page 39); Honolulu (page 51); San Francisco (page 53); Los
Angeles (page 55).
[39] It seems that he also made an appearance as an actor, at least once, impersonating Jules
Massenet in the lm version of the musical Tonight We Sing (1953, 20th Century Fox, director:
Mitchell Leisen). Isaac Stern impersonated Eugene Ysaye in the same lm.
[40] 3 Impromptus fur Pianoforte, Ries & Erler, Berlin c . 1921 (Pl.-Nr. R 9175 E.); Die 82. Sure des
Koran fur eine Altstimme, Streichorchester und Kesselpauken, Universal Edition, Vienna
c . 1948 (UE 11880) and Variationen und Fantasien uber ein Thema von Arnold Schoenberg fur
Klavier, Universal Edition, Vienna 1959 (UE 12549).
Ethnomusicology Forum 149
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