Kurt Janetzky (1906-1994)

janetzky2.jpgKurt Janetzky was a distinguished low-horn specialist and world-class musicologist who enriched the horn and chamber music repertoires with the editing and publication of over two hundred manuscripts, plus books and articles on the history of the horn. He often said, "If I should again be reborn on the earth, I would return as a hornist – and I want to play fourth horn again!" But his lasting legacy is to the horn repertoire and his treatises on the history of the horn.

Janetzky was born in 1906 in Breslau, Silesia (now part of Poland). He studied in Dresden with Adolf Lindner and Ernst von Schuch, then played fourth horn in the Saxon State Orchestra and Dresden Opera under conductors Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner, and Karl Böhm. He played briefly with several other orchestras, then moved to Leipzig, where he was a member of the Leipzig Radio symphony Orchestra from 1946 to 1971. He was honored with the title Kammervirtuose in 1952. He made numerous recordings playing horn and lute with the Leipzig orchestra and with the early music ensemble Pro Arte Antiqua Lipsiensis. He was also a member of the Schaffrath Horn Quartet, which was noted for its performance of the Schumann Konzertstück.

In 1972, after he had retired from the orchestra, Janetzky moved from the GDR (former East Germany) to the West, where he was able to publish and disseminate his manuscripts more easily. He corresponded extensively with international horn soloists from his apartment near Heidelberg.

Janetzky found many manuscripts in small libraries and castles in the former GDR. Among the composers whose manuscripts Janetzky rescued from oblivion are CPE Bach, JC Bach, WF Bach, Boccherini, Danzi, Josef Haydn, Michael Haydn, Hummel, Leopold Mozart, WA Mozart, Nicolai, Pagnini, Anton Reicha, Schubert, Stamitz, Telemann, and von Weber.

Janetzky lectured at numerous horn conferences and wrote many articles on the history of the horn and chamber music. His article "The Metamorphoses of Possibilities" (translated by Dr. Ceceilia C. Baumann) appears in the May 1972 issue of The Horn Call. A collection of his lectures and a listing of his editions is found in:

  • Aus der Werkstatt eines Hornisten:Gesammelte Aufsätze von Kurt Janetzky, published by Michael Nagy, Vienna, 1993.

Janetzky's books are authoritative references.

  • Cultural History of the Horn (Kulturgeschichte des Horns), with Bernard Brüchle, translated by Cecilia Baumann-Cloughly, published by Schneider, Tutzing, 1976.
  • The Horn (Das Horn: Eine kleine Chronik seines Werdens und Wirkens), with Bernard Brüchle, translated by James Chater, published by Schott, Mainz, 1984 and Batsford, London, 1988 and Amadeus Press, Portland OR, 1988.
  • A Pictorial History of the Horn (Seriöse Kuriositäten am Rande der Instrumentenkunde) Schneider, Tutzing, 1980.

Janetzky was one of the first elected an IHS Honorary Member, in 1978. A tribute appears in the May 1995 issue of The Horn Call.

Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto (1901-1991)

wl-o.jpgWilhelm Lanzky-Otto was the father of the modern Swedish school of horn playing and arguably the single greatest influence on Scandinavian horn playing as a whole. He inspired a so-called "Lanzky School" of horn playing, influencing others as both player and teacher. Indeed, many of the prominent horn players throughout Scandinavia today are either pupils of, or have been influenced by, the "Lanzky School" style.

Wilhelm was born in Copenhagen in 1909 and began intensive musical studies in piano at age five, first with his mother then at a piano school. Later his studies included the violin, viola, music theory, conducting, and organ. He concertized and taught piano on many occasions throughout his life. In 1928 he was offered a free place at the Royal Danish Conservatory; the same year he received an academic degree.

Along with many other activities, Wilhelm learned to play horn with such success that after only a year he was engaged as assistant principal in Denmark's leading opera orchestra, the Royal Orchestra. He still continued his studies at the conservatory, receiving a piano diploma in 1930 and an organ diploma in 1931.Wilhelm took up the horn so that, if he did not succeed as a professional pianist, he would have an orchestral instrument to fall back on. He could have continued with violin, but with more violinists than demand at this time, the horn provided better opportunity. He studied with Hans Sörensen until 1929. After graduating from the conservatory, he became principal horn in the Tivoli Concert Hall Orchestra. Both the Tivoli and Royal orchestra seasons were four months in the summer, which allowed him to study the rest of the year.

During these years, Wilhelm helped found Blaserkvintetten af 1932 (1932 Wind Quintet), which inspired Danish composers to increase the repertoire for wind quintet.

From 1936-45, he was principal horn with the Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra, frequently appearing as piano and/or horn soloist. In 1944, his teacher, Hans Sörensen, died. Wilhelm took over his position as principal horn in the Royal Orchestra and horn professor at the Royal Danish Conservatory. Then he took a post as piano teacher at the conservatory in Reykjavik, Iceland, combined with principal horn with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted bands and toured as pianist, horn player, or accompanist and worked with many of the great musicians of the day as they stopped in Iceland on their way to and from America. Wilhelm later often referred to "the happy years in Iceland."

Wilhelm was asked to fill a position with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. Travel was expensive, so a "lacquer" recording and a photograph were sent in place of an audition. He also became teacher of horn and piano at the orchestral school of Gothenburg. After solo tours and broadcasts (in part to make himself known in Stockholm), he was offered the principal horn position in the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956, then applied for and was given the post of horn teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Later he helped found the Stockholm Wind Quintet and a brass group, Musica Nova.

Horn playing is at a high standard in Sweden, in large measure due to Wilhelm's influence. His style is a continuation of the classical Danish horn tradition, which itself is a continuation of the tradition found in France, Austria, and Germany. Notable students include his son Ib (who also has been principal horn in the Stockholm Philharmonic and is an IHS Honorary Member), Frøydis Ree Wekre, Rolf Bengtsson, and Sören Hermansson. Because of his broad musical and general education, Wilhelm was known for his interpretative skills. He had a gift for working from particular students' limitations and needs, preaching a particular style of playing while leaving students free to interpret works in their own way.

Wilhelm also promoted equality between the principal and associate principal horn in the orchestra to the point that one never knows quite who is playing which horn part in the Stockholm Philharmonic. In this way, the associate does not build up a fear of the big solos, and the principal has the freedom to pursue solo and other activities without the orchestra suffering. On the other hand, he believed that the section should follow the style of the principal horn without question.

Philip Farkas, in his book A Photographic Study of 40 Virtuoso Horn Players' Embouchures, describes Wilhelm as having "an extremely large, round, and ringing tone, superior high register, superior middle register, superior low register, superior legato and slurs, moderately fast tongue speed, excellent loud dynamics, and superior soft dynamics."

In 1967, Wilhelm "retired" to fourth horn in the Philharmonic, and retired from the orchestra in 1974. He was made an IHS Honorary Member in 1978 and died in 1991. A longer article about Wilhelm by his son Ib appears in the May 2005 issue of The Horn Call.

Edmond Leloir (1912-2003)

leloir2.jpgEdmund Leloir is known around the world for his editions and publications, but he also had a long and distinguished career as an orchestral player and soloist. In his study was a photo of Ernest Ansermet, the conductor who hired him for the Orchestre del la Suisse-Roman, with this dedication: "To E. Leloir, exceptional and exemplary horn player, a very cordial and grateful remembrance." (Á E. Leloir corniste exceptionnel et exemplaire, un bien cordial et reconnaissant sourvenir.)

Leloir was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1912. He first played horn with his father and brother, both amateur horn players, in one of the many city wind bands. His first teacher, after his father, was Hubert Dubois. He studied at the Brussels conservatory with Théo Mahy, and he was awarded six premier prix by the age of 16. He was the last student in Belgium required to perform on both natural and valve horn.

Leloir played in several Belgian orchestras (Anvers, Liège, Brussels) and Monte Carlo, then in 1935 migrated to Switzerland, where he play in Winterthur, Zürich, Bern, and finally in the Orchestre del la Suisse-Roman in Geneva, a position he held for 31 years (1939-1977).

After Leloir won the first International Horn Competition at Geneva in 1939, conductor Ernest Ansermet hired him as principal horn and then orchestrated Schumann's Adagio and Allegro for him to play with the orchestra. In 1952 his horn quartet, Quator de Cors Leloir (with Gérald Dentz, Achille Bonnal, and Jacques Béhar), premiered the Hindemith Sonata for Four Horns.

Leloir played a number of different horns over his career, starting with a single F piston valve Raoux-Millereau, then a rotary valve instrument (German), a Czech horn by Lehman, and an Alexander in B-Flat/A – always searching for a compromise between the French and German sounds. He collected horns of all types, some of which he gave to museums.

Leloir played under Richard Strauss, starting when he was 14 or 15 years old, and after the war, Strauss lived in Switzerland not far from Geneva. Leloir played the premiere of his Serenade in Winterthur. He spoke with Strauss many times and asked him about his horn music. Strauss said that the breath marks in the first concerto were for musical phrasing purposes. Strauss told Leloir that in all his compositions he indicated the metronome markings, but that everyone played everything too fast. Leloir believes that Strauss himself arranged the first concerto for four horns and Till Eulenspiegel as a septet, but published them under another name.

Leloir taught at conservatories in Berne, Fribourg, Monte Carlo, and Geneva, with students from all over Europe and the US. He served on juries for international competitions in Geneva, Munich, Prague, and Toulon. He recorded orchestral works of many composers (all the symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, all the works of Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, and others), many solo horn works (Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, the Sikorski concerto), and the Hübler concerto for four horns. An early recording of the Bach Brandenburg Concerto was issued on 78 rpm but repeated later on 33 rpm.

Leloir wrote a method, books of etudes, and compositions for horn, and he discovered, edited, and published hundreds of works that had been lost or had gone out of print, including concertos by Leopold Mozart, Rosetti, Michael Haydn, Telemann, the Haydn concerto for two horns, the Hübler concerto for four horns, and others.

Leloir was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1983. He retained his interest in the instrument to the end of his life, attending the International Horn Symposium in Lahti, Finland in 2002. An interview with Daniel Bourgue appears in the May 2002 issue of The Horn Call, an article detailing his accomplishments in the May 1995 issue, and a tribute in the February 2004 issue.

Harold Meek (1914-1998)

meek2.jpgHarold Meek is described by everyone as a gentleman, a perfectionist, and one who loved the horn. He was the first editor of The Horn Call and was responsible for this statement in every issue, "The International Horn Society recommends that HORN be recognized as the correct name for our instrument in the English language."

Meek grew up in the family farmhouse in Newark OH, an old house that he later rebuilt. He studied at Denison University (Ohio), with Anton Horner at Curtis, and with Arcadi Yegudkin at Eastman. He was principal horn of the Rochester Philharmonic (1942-1943), principal and third horn of the Boston Symphony (1943-1963), and principal horn of the Boston Pops (1943-1963). He made solo appearances and recordings and performed chamber music. He had many friends in the horn world, including Dennis Brain.Meek taught at Denison University, Shurtleff College, New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and Harvard University. His scholarship included articles in publications such as The Horn Call, Symphony, and Music Educators Journal; music such as Basic Technical Studies, transcriptions for wind quintet, and reprints of out-of-print editions; and books, notably Horn & Conductor.

Meek thought deeply about the horn, its history, and its music, and he combined playing and research. For all his appreciation of history, however, and his participation in one of the first period-instrument recordings in the mid-1950s, he commented, "Thank God for the invention of the valve!" He played a single B-flat horn.

Meek was a member of the IHS Advisory Council from 1971-1976, the first editor of The Horn Call (1970-1971), and elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1980. Tributes appear in the November 1998 issue of The Horn Call.

John Barrows (1913-1974)

barrows.jpgJohn R. Barrows was known for his elegant playing, his impeccable musicianship, his dedicated teaching, and his friendship with composer Alec Wilder, who once said that when his music was played by John Barrows it somehow came back sounding better than he had thought it could.

Barrows was born in 1913 in Glendale CA. His early years were spent in Montana, where he played euphonium. During his high school years in San Diego, he studied cello and later, horn. He attended the Eastman School of Music (1930-1932), San Diego State Teachers College (1933-1934), and Yale University (1934-1938). His teachers included Richard Donovan and David Smith.

Barrows joined the Minneapolis Symphony in 1938, then served as assistant leader of the Army Air Forces Band during World War II, and afterwards moved to New York and played with the City Opera (1946-1949) and the City Ballet (1952-1955). He also appeared in San Juan PR with the Casals Festival Orchestra (1958-1961) and occasionally worked with such artists as Woody Herman, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday.

Chamber music was important to Barrows. He performed with such ensembles as the Budapest String Quartet and the Pasquier Trio before co-founding the New York Woodwind Quintet in 1952. Barrows made few recordings, but those with the quintet are among his best. Many reviewers have called the quintet the finest woodwind quintet in the world, and Barrows' horn playing was crucial to its success. He also performed regularly with the Fine Arts Quartet in Milwaukee. Barrows wrote, "There is no other musical experience that can quite equal playing chamber music in intensity of self-expression and yet within the framework of cooperative effort."

Barrows wrote several chamber works and made numerous arrangements for band. He was concerned about the limited repertoire for horn, so he performed little known works. Wilder's three sonatas and one suite were written for him, and the singing melodies in Wilder's works brought out Barrows' best playing.

Barrows taught at Yale (1957-1961), New York University (1958-1961), and finally at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1961-1974), where he taught all levels although he could have accepted only the most advanced students. His influence, through his sense of humor and high artistic standards, won the admiration of audiences, the respect of students, and the devotion of friends.

Barrows was elected an Honorary Member in 1989. Tributes appear in the May 1974 issue of The Horn Call. The John Barrows Memorial Scholarship was established at the University of Wisconsin in 1974.

Vitaly Bujanovsky (1928-1993)

bujanovsky2.jpgVitaly Mikhailovich Bujanovsky was a leader in the Russian school of wind playing, principal horn in the Leningrad Philharmonic, a soloist and chamber musician, composer and arranger of music for horn, and taught a generation of players, both Russian and from around the world. He taught that technique is not a goal in itself. Frøydis Ree Wekre, who studied with him in Leningrad, wrote, "Through his interpretive style one realizes that the horn has as many artistic possibilities as any of the traditional solo instruments."

Bujanovsky was born in 1928 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) into a family of artists and musicians. His grandfather was a violinist to the Czar, and his father, Michael Nicolaevich Bujanovsky, was principal horn of the Kirov Opera Orchestra and professor at the Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad Conservatory. Bujanovsky's first lessons were with his father, and he joined his father's section at the Kirov in 1946.

Bujanovsky won the International Reicha Competition in Prague (1953) and the gold medal at the International Competition in Vienna (1959). The latter victory brought world-wide fame and respect and recognition for the Russian school of wind playing, which until then had been dismissed by critics. In 1951, Bujanovsky started teaching at the Leningrad Conservatory (now the Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory), where he was appointed Honored Artist (1963) and artist of the People (1978). He also taught at the Music High School and was essentially responsible for all horn instruction in Leningrad. Lessons were taught in an informal master class setting.

In his instruction, Bujanovsky emphasized an understanding of the composer's intent, the national characteristics that influenced his work, and the human voice as a model for interpretation. He had an extensive collection of Russian sacred music and felt that this genre was a point of departure for understanding Russian composers before Shostakovich.

Bujanovsky appeared widely as a soloist. On one memorable occasion in 1970, he played all the Mozart works for solo horn and orchestra - the four concerti, the Concert Rondo and the E major fragment - in one concert. He also recorded these and some three dozen other works. His style for the Mozart was clear and lyrical, an approach in keeping with his father's training and perhaps influenced by his mother, an opera singer.

Bujanovsky's recorded many horn standards, including the Dukas Villanelle. When orchestral parts were not available for the Dukas, Bujanovsky made his own orchestration from the piano score. His orchestration skills are not surprising, given his talent as a composer. He wrote a solo sonata for Hermann Baumann, two works for Peter Damm, chamber music with prominent horn parts, and other works. He also inspired other Soviet composers to write for the horn. His España for solo horn has become a frequent work at horn symposiums since Frøydis introduced it in 1977 at the International Horn Workshop in Hartford CT.

Bujanovsky founded a woodwind quintet within the Leningrad Philharmonic. Many Soviet composers wrote for the ensemble, including Yuri Falik, whose quintet The Clowns is a staple of the repertoire.

Bujanovsky was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1985. A tribute to him appears in the November 1993 issue of The Horn Call.


Georges Barboteu (1924-2006)

barb.jpgGeorges Barboteu was the leading horn player in France and wrote etudes and other compositions for the horn that are staples of the repertoire and have been used as examination pieces at the Paris Conservatoire. He was "loved and appreciated for his charisma, his steadfast good humor, and his immense cordiality."

Barboteu was born in Algiers in 1924. His family was originally from Catalan but had lived in Algeria for generations. His father, Joseph Barboteu, was a professional horn player and professor at the Conservatoire d'Algiers. Georges started horn with his father at age nine and at age twelve was awarded a premier prix at the conservatory. At age 14 he played next to his father at the Grand Casino in Biarritz, France.

In 1939, Georges auditioned for the Paris Conservatoire, but World War II broke out and both Barboteus returned to Algeria. Georges played next to his father in the orchestra of Radio Algiers, then after three years his father turned the solo position over to his son. During this time, Georges also studied harmony and counterpoint, learned to play double bass, and wrote his first compositions.

After the war, in 1948, Barboteu returned to France and joined the Orchestre National (Radio France) under Charles Munch. In 1950 he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1951 he won the premier prix, soon thereafter winning first prize at the Geneva International Competition.

Barboteu played in the Orchestre del Société des Concerts du Conservatoire (the future Orchestre de Paris), solo horn with the Opera Comique, and in 1969 with the Orchestre de Paris. He was horn professor at the Paris Conservatoire from 1969-1989 and founder of the Quintette Ars Nova.

Barboteu was a member of the IHS Advisory Council from 1976 to 1979 and appeared as a featured artist at many symposiums. He was elected an Honorary Member in 1998.

Barboteu was a consummate musician. He was involved in all styles of music, from baroque to contemporary, including jazz (recording with Duke Ellington). He was a master at inspiring jazz and theatrical arrangers and composers to include horns in their orchestrations, from Franck Pourcel to Claude Bolling.

His recordings include an early recording of Schumann's Konzertstück, which was reissued in 1994 with other solo performances on The Magic of the French Horn.

A tribute to Barboteu by his friend and colleague Daniel Borgue appears in both French and English in the February 2007 issue of The Horn Call.

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