Max Otto Arnold Wagenknecht was born on the 14 August 1857 in Woldisch Tychow (currently known as Tychowko), which was at that time part of Prussia, Germany. His father, Julius Wagenknecht, was a teacher at the local boarding school. Max was exposed to music from an early age onwards and studied both piano and organ music.
Around 1875 Max received a scholarship to continue his music studies at the conservatory ("Hochschule für Music") in Berlin, the predecessor of the current Universität der Kunste.
After completing his studies he gained a position as a lecturer in organ music at the Teachers' College (Königliche Seminar) in Franzburg in the early 1880's. He met his future wife, Meta Benz, in Franzburg and they married on the 14 August 1885. They had two children, Gertrud Wagenknecht (1886, Franzburg - 1970, Berlin) and Georg Wagenknecht (1889, Franzburg - 1951, Berlin).
In 1901 Max took up a position at the Teachers' College in the nearby Anklam and remained there until his death on the 7 May 1922. Allegedly, he died due to a heart attack caused by a letter from the Teachers' College stating that he had to retire when he would turn 65 in August 1922.
While he worked at the Teachers' Colleges in Franzburg and Anklam, Max Wagenknecht was also actively involved in the commissioning of new and restored organs in the region, organised various concerts and conducted a number of orchestras.
Max Wagenknecht published an unknown number of musical works. The following works have been preserved:
- Opus 1: Three Polkas for piano. This work was most likely composed while he was studying at the conservatory in Berlin
- Opus 2: "Rheinländer" for violin or flute to the accompaniment of the piano, published by J.P. Lindner Sohn in Stralsund
- Opus 3: Three songs with text by Schanz, Kletke and Reinick to the accompaniment of the piano, published by J.P. Lindner Sohn in Stralsund
- Opus 5: "58 Vor- und Nachspiele", 58 short pieces of organ music and a Fughette and Fuge, published by J.P. Lindner Sohn in Stralsund (first edition published in July 1889)
- Opus 10, 13 and 14: Songs to the accompaniment of the piano. It is unknown whether these works have been published since only the handwritten originals remain.
His best known music work is Opus 5. It is particularly noteworthy for its melodic compositions bringing together traditional church music with the late 19th century romantic music era
Martin Rost has included a number of pieces from this work on the CD collection "Pomerania Organ Landscape", available from Amazon and other music stores. A review can be found at Music Web International. MP3's of the recordings can be purchased at Music Match.
A number of music samples of other recordings are also available under "Music Samples" on this website.
Teachers' College Franzburg
Farewell Concert Program
Franzburg Teachers' College
29 March 1901
Lecturers of the Teachers' College,
Anklam, circa 1910