John Burden (1921-2010)

john burdenJohn Harold Burden played in the London Symphony Orchestra (1946-1955), joined the Sinfonia of London (1955-1958), was a member of the Virtuoso Ensemble of London, founded the London Horn Trio, and was principal horn of the Menuhin Festival Orchestra, but he is also known for his association with the Beatles.

John’s father, a priest in London’s East End, wanted him to take holy orders, but John was more interested in music. He took up the horn at age 16 and won a place at the Royal Academy of Music two years later. His teacher at the RAM was Aubrey Brain, and Dennis, born the same year as John, was a fellow student. When World War II broke out, both joined the RAF Central Band. In 1953, they performed together in the orchestra assembled for the Coronation in Westminster Abbey, Dennis on first and John on second.

Management of the London Symphony Orchestra insisted on remaining solely a concert and recording orchestra, but a group of players, including John, resigned en masse, most joining the Sinfonia of London to record for films. John played on the soundtracks of many movies, including The Ladykillers, Hitchcock’s Vertigo, early James Bond films, and the Pink Panther franchise.

The London Horn Trio, founded in 1959 with violinist Lionel Bentley and pianist Celia Arieli, performed over the next twenty years. John also made a number of appearances with Dizzy Gillespie when his band toured Britain in the late 1960s.

EMI producer George Martin approached John in 1967 to play on the Beatles’ album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band along with hornists James W. Buck, Neil Sanders, and Tony Randall. “They didn’t really know what they wanted,” John later recalled. “I wrote out phrases based on what Paul McCartney was humming to us.” John can be heard on the album’s title track.

John’s daunting workload took its toll, and by 1979 his embouchure had been permanently affected. He retired from playing and became a professor at Trinity College of Music until 1998, then taught at Ballymena Academy from 1990 until his retirement in 2005.

Information for this biography came from John Burden’s son, Tim Burden, is his tribute, John Burden: Legendary Horn Blower. An obituary in The Times was written by Mark Walker, son of Gordon Walker, a flutist and friend of John Burden’s.

Jacques François Gallay (1795-1864)

GallayJacques François Gallay was the last great natural horn specialist in France, renowned for his quality of tone in both open and stopped notes, his certainty of attack and clarity in rapid passages.

He was born in Perpignan, France, the son of Marie Bertin and amateur horn player François Gallay. At age 10, he began to study solfège, the traditional French system for improving aural skills and sight-reading, and two years later he started horn lessons with his father, though he was largely self-taught. When Gallay was just 14, and the horn player at the Perpignan’s theatre went sick, he was already sufficiently skilled to be able to stand in for him. Musicians visiting the city recommended that he should move to Paris to study at the Conservatoire, but his father was reluctant to let him leave home.

Galley composed and performed a horn concerto around 1818  and finally, in June 1820, at the age of 24, he went to Paris to meet Louis-François Dauprat, the Conservatoire’s horn professor. Though Dauprat was keen that Gallay should study with him, special dispensation had to be obtained before he could be accepted at the Conservatoire because he was above the maximum age for starting there.

In 1821, after just a year under Dauprat’s tuition, Gallay won the coveted first prize for horn in the Conservatoire’s annual Concours, the competition to find the best player on each instrument there. Clearly, he was already regarded as someone special. He performed in the prize-winners’ concert in December, and a review said that though the piece he played was “rather feeble,” he managed to play his “rebellious instrument” with the facility of a flute. Three months later, after a performance of a Nocturne for horn and harp, Le Miroir des spectacles declared that his tone was beautiful, his playing sang sweetly, and the impression he made enhanced an already brilliant reputation. “Soon,” the author continued, he will earn a place “among the great masters.”

Gallay played in the orchestra at Paris’s Odéon Theatre for a short while, but in 1825 he moved to the Théâtre Italien as solo horn player, and it was there that he met Gioacchino Rossini, who dedicated his Introduction, Andante and Allegro for horn and piano to him. He was also appointed to the band of the Royal Chapel, and though this ended abruptly with the overthrow of Charles X in the so-called July Revolution of 1830, in 1832 he was appointed to the chamber music ensemble of Charles’s successor, King Louis-Phillippe. The excellent notices for his solo playing continued. In 1833, after a performance of one of his own compositions, Castil Blaze, the music critic for L’Europe Littéraire wrote “M. Gallay has outdone himself, which says it all. It would be impossible to combine more charm and vigour with more exquisite accuracy. Even the most rebellious and scabrous pitches emerged from M. Gallay’s horn like notes from an organ.”

Although Gallay’s teacher Dauprat is today held in great esteem for his comprehensive Méthode de cor-alto et cor-basse, it seems that by the early 1840s all was not well in the Conservatoire horn department. Someone, writing anonymously in La France Musicale on 10th April 1842, expressed his “astonishment” that Gallay was not yet a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, as “the horn school is completely neglected” and that “Gallay alone could restore its old reputation.” Six months later, the 61-year old Dauprat had retired, and on 25th November, La tribune dramatique announced that “M. Gallay has just been named professor of the horn at the Conservatoire.”

Pierre-Joseph Meifred had been in post as professor of valve horn since 1833, though it seems that the Conservatoire authorities regarded valve horn playing as something completely different from hand horn playing and there does not seem to have been any crossover of students between the two classes. Gallay could now, at least, stamp his own authority on the Conservatoire’s hand horn class; while Dauprat’s students only sporadically won first prizes (the prizes were awarded by a committee, and not by the individual professors), 1843, 1845, and 1864 (the year Gallay died) were the only years when a first prize was not awarded during his tenure.

His Méthode pour le cor appeared in 1845, and although a slim volume in comparison with the tutors of Domnich and Dauprat, it makes some interesting points, not least in that by contrast to his predecessors, he advocated a more open hand position, recommending that players should maximise the variety of tone colour while avoiding uneven volume, by blowing less hard on open notes and harder on stopped ones. The Méthode also includes a chart showing different hand positions required to produce all notes through the range of the instrument and detailed descriptions of his preferred mouthpieces: his “model no. 1: for high horn players had an internal diameter of 16.5mm, his “model no. 2” for low players 18.5 mm. He recommended a rim width of 2.5mm, a total length of 72mm and a diameter at the “tail” of the mouthpiece of 7mm.

Gallay was a “first horn player,” a term he preferred to Dauprat’s “cor alto,” though he tended to use only the middle register for solo performances. His preference for horns with a relatively small bell throat influenced French design long after his death.

Gallay’s compositions include caprices and studies for solo horn, numerous fantasies for horn and piano, duets, trios and a Grand Quartet, Op. 26 for horns, each crooked in a different key. Although the fantasies use the era’s characteristic theme and variation form, they are musically more significant than most, and the Préludes mesurés et non mesurés retain their value both musically and as study material.

Among his most distinguished students were Jean Garigue, who played at both the Opéra-Comique and at the Paris Opéra, Pierre van Haute, who played principal horn in Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra, and Jean Mohr, who succeeded Gallay as professor at the Conservatoire. In June 1843 he married Julie Elêonore d’Hebercourt in Paris’s Basilica of Notre Dame des Victoires, a woman 21 years his junior who ran an antiques shop at Place de la Bourse, no.6, and in 1854 they had a daughter, Pauline Marie Thérèse. Gallay was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1845.

After his appointment to the Conservatoire, Galley played at the Société des concerts aux Conservatoire and with the King’s chamber music ensemble until at least 1844, but rarely elsewhere, and he seems to have suffered poor health; towards the end of his life he obtained permission to teach from his home at Rue Chabannais no. 14, as he could no longer get to the Conservatoire easily. Within days of his death in Paris, Mohr was announced as his successor.

By John Humphries (with thanks to Anneke Scott for her input.)

Raoux Family

Raoux narrow bore natural and piston horns were sought after by horn players in the 19th and early 20th century as being the best and were played by both Aubrey Brain and his son Dennis. The Raoux family members who manufactured horns were:

François (1695-1749)
Brothers Pierre (1723-after 1789) and Joseph (1725-1787)
Lucien-Joseph (1752-1823)
Marcel-Auguste (1795-1871)

raoux lj
Lucien-Joseph Raoux (1752-1823)

The Raoux story begins in 1663 when Louis Raoux moved to Nancy in the Lorraine region of France. Louis and his son François were chaudronniers; i.e., coppersmiths and pot and pan makers, the most highly skilled of which were organized in guilds in major cities and made high value objects, including timpani and trumpets. François became a master chaudronnier and was later described as Warden of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Lorraine’s Hunt and, after a move to Versailles, as Horn Maker to the King’s (Louis XV of France) Hunt, a position he held until his death.

Two of François’s sons followed him in the business. Pierre remained in Nancy, listed as “merchant-maker of cors-de-chasse” and also was among the artisans who made a fountain in Nancy in 1756. Joseph moved to Paris and joined the Guild of Luthiers, Organ Builders, and Musical Instrument Makers in 1754. Before this, the cor-de-chasse was not considered to be a musical instrument as such, but, like trumpets and timpani, classified as “instruments of war and the hunt.”

Both guilds manufactured horns from 1759, an important development as it reflected the growing interest in the horn as an orchestral instrument in France. These orchestral horns were triple-wound (introduced around 1814), following earlier designs of single-wound trompe (favored by the Marquis de Dampierre) and double-wound trompe Dauphine. The Raoux atelier developed two ranges of instrument: trompes-de-chasse for the hunt and cors-de-chasse for the orchestra.

Joseph seems to have made mainly hunting horns despite his entry into the Luthier’s Guild. He was the exclusive supplier of trompe-de-chasse to the king. His son, Lucien-Joseph, apprenticed to his father, left to work with a former shop workman and competitor, Jean-François Corméry, but later returned to work with his father, possibly concentrating on orchestral horns while his father took care of hunting horns.

Raoux cor solo for Dauprat
Raoux cor solo for Dauprat

Lucien-Joseph developed a new form of cor d’invention in 1781, the cor solo. He made a beautiful example for an award to Louis-François Dauprat, winner of the first Premier Prix for horn at the Paris Conservatoire in 1797. Over the years, he made horns for Giovanni Punto, Domnich, Duvernoy, Kenn, and Lebrun. His workshop included a lathe.

Marcel-Auguste worked with his father and was a horn player as well as maker. Among the changes in industry and manufacturing at this time was the introduction of valves, arriving from Germany with trumpets in 1826. Following a revolution in 1830, royal patents were cancelled, competition increased, Adolph Sax won a competition for military band instruments, and the Raoux business went into decline. After years of litigation, Marcel-Auguste was forced in 1857 to sell the company’s assets to Jacques-Christophe Labbaye, the horn-playing son of a maker.

In 1878, François Millereau, who started his own shop in 1861, bought Marcel-Auguste’s patterns and the rights to the Raoux name from Labbaye, who continued to work in his employ. Millereau was succeeded by his son-in-law, Herman Schoenaers. The firm went bankrupt in 1931 and was bought by H. Selmer, who continue to use the Raoux name until around 1938.

Marcel-Auguste Raoux had a son, Auguste-Ernest (1826-1889), who became a government inspector; Auguste-Ernest’s only child, a daughter, died in 1930, the end of this Raoux family.

Chris Larkin’s article, from which this summary is drawn, was published in the Spring and Autumn 2018 issues of The Horn Player, the journal of the British Horn Society.

Henri Kling (1842-1918)

klingBeyond duties as solo hornist and educator, Henri Kling was a composer, conductor, organist, and writer whose publications still occupy considerable shelf space in our libraries. His reputation however has diminished to the point that few know who he was or what we owe him, and the current online edition of the prestigious Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart has deleted his entry entirely.

Henri Adrien Louis Kling was born in Paris in 1842 to French native Claudette and Ludwig Christoph Kling, who hailed from the southwest German Grand Duchy of Baden. The Klings’ Paris sojourn presumably did not provide adequate employment for Ludwig, an Hautboist (military musician). In 1844 the family left Paris for Ludwig’s hometown of Carlsruhe, where he found employment in the wind bands associated with the local military garrison. Soon after the move, Henri’s mother died. Ludwig remarried, but he was a problematic father, and a devastating fire and political and military upheaval made for a difficult childhood for Henri.

Henri blossomed as musician in his teens, applying himself to violin, piano, and organ and being influenced by Eduard Devrient (manager of the court theater) and Carlsruhe Music Director Josef Strauss. The horn section of the Carlsruhe Court Orchestra enjoyed a fine reputation, and Henri studied with members of the section, including solo hornist Jacob Dorn. Students of orchestra members had free access to performances, which comprised more than two dozen operas in one season. Members of the section also gave advice on instruments; for Henri an initial cor solo (natural horn) was followed by a clockspring rotary-valve F horn built by Friedrich Wilhelm Schuster, one of the earliest makers of instruments with valves.

Henri left Carlsruhe in 1861, after the death of his father, settling in Geneva, Switzerland. He soon won the solo horn post in the Geneva Theater Orchestra, married in 1865, and had three children. His Méthode pour le Cor appeared in manuscript in 1865; it was printed in 1879 by Breitkopf & Härtel and a second, expanded edition was published in 1895 and remains in print today. Kling was elected Professor of Musical Theory and Horn Playing at the Geneva Conservatoire in 1866 and remained at the post for more than fifty years.

Geneva’s Grand Théâtre was opened in 1879, providing a venue for many opera and symphony concerts with Kling as solo horn with a brilliant reputation. At the same time, he began to develop as a conductor and was also famous for his teaching and adjudicator of band contests. Over his lifetime, he composed more than 550 pieces with opus numbers and many more without, including a concerto and sonata for horn as well as shorter solos, etudes, and ensemble works. His compositions were published by established publishers in Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and the US.

After two decades as solo hornist in Geneva, Kling resigned from the orchestra to devote himself to composition, writing, and teaching. He considered teaching at the Geneva Conservatoire his primary responsibility. He taught both hand horn and modern valve horn and stressed the importance of the hand in the bell. Among his many solo horn pieces, etudes, arrangements, and editions, Kling was the first to provide piano transcriptions for the Mozart concerti and the Weber Concertino. Compositions were dedicated to colleagues Alphonse Stenebruggen in Strasbourg, Henri Dubois in Brussels, and Friedrich Gumpert in Leipzig. Articles and books included topics such as the intersection of music and literature, contributions of women in music, local music history, and methods for composition, orchestration, conducting, and transposition.

World War I meant a blockade of Switzerland with attendant shortages and the personal tragedy of the war between his mother’s France and his father’s Germany. Kling’s fifty years at the Conservatoire was celebrated in 1916. He still hiked every Sunday morning more than 10 kilometers round trip to play the organ, donating his time and talents without pay. Kling died in Geneva at the age of 76 in May 1918, not living to see the end of the war.

Summary by Marilyn Bone Kloss of William Melton’s “Henri Kling: A European Musician." The complete article was first published in La Revue du Corniste, the journal of the Association Française du Cor, and then in The Horn Call, in the February, May, and October 2018 issues.

Farquharson Cousins (1917-2017)

by Tony Catterick

farkieFarquharson Alfred Mackay Cousins ‒ “Farkie” to everyone ‒ was a true horn legend and character who achieved lasting fame as a devotee of “the true horn tone.”

Farkie was born in Bristol, England in 1917 to an Anglican clergyman, Alfred Edmund Cousins, who served in France in the First World War, and Margaret Mackay, a Canadian. The parents met in Canada where Alfred was working as a priest; Farkie spent some early years in Canada.

I saw my first horn when I was four years of age in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada, where we were living for a while. Dad took me to a Military Band outdoor concert. It was The Band of The Welsh Guards touring Canada and I clearly remember them playing Franz von Suppe’s overture Light Cavalry. Little could I have imagined that the Sergeant playing first Horn would, in fifteen years’ time, be my second Horn in the same Band!

Farkie attended Clifton College, a boys’ public school in Bristol, England from 1931-36, where he decided to take up the horn at age 15. This was a school-owned piston valve instrument with an F crook that was hanging on a wall; he tried it, producing a G below the stave immediately! After three years he won a prize playing Glazunov’s Reverie. His father bought him a similar-type Raoux horn and, for the rest of his life, Farkie stayed passionately loyal to the narrow bore piston valve French horn in F.

Farkie attended Selwyn College, Cambridge to read Music, graduating in 1938 and deciding to become a professional horn player. With the help of a scholarship, he went to the Guildhall School of Music in London in 1939 to study with Bertie Muskett, one-time principal horn for Sir Thomas Beecham’s New Symphony Orchestra. During the months leading up to the Second World War in September 1939, he was also able to have lessons with Aubrey Brain at the Royal Academy of Music. Some of his contemporary horn students with Aubrey Brain were Aubrey's son Dennis, Douglas Moore, William Grant, and John Burden, all of whom later had distinguished careers as first horns and teachers of the next generation.

In 1992, aged 75, I recall, over half a century ago I sat alongside Dennis Brain in The Duke’s Hall at the RAM, with Sir Henry Wood conducting. Halcyon days, with Aubrey as our mentor. We all played French horns in F, the large bore B-flat German horn had yet to dominate, and with Aubrey Brain – never!!

On the outbreak of hostilities, Farkie joined the same Welsh Guards Band he heard as a child in Winnipeg. He also played in the Orchestra in Khaki, a group of military musicians formed to make aluminium records for relay to the Forces abroad. When he was demobilized in 1945, he bought a Joseph Lucien Raoux horn in F.

He joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the 1945-46 season, the City of Birmingham Orchestra in 1946-47, and the now defunct Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra based in Leeds in 1948-49, the last horn section in the UK to play the narrow bore piston valve French Horn in F. The section was Farkie, Raymond Few, William Crosse, and Walter Smith.

From Leeds, Farkie moved in 1949 to Glasgow with the Scottish Orchestra. He now realised that there was no choice but to give up the old narrow bore piston horn and so played an old Lehmann compensating horn in F and B-flat owned by the orchestra. He stayed the renamed Scottish National Orchestra for the next 10 years, during which he bought a yellow brass Conn 6D full double instrument. The section in the early 1950s was Farkie, Aileen Way, a young Barry Tuckwell, and Derek Lisney. Farkie also taught at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. He then was solo horn in the BBC Scottish Orchestra, also in Glasgow, from 1960 to 1966, with ex-horn player Normal Del Mar as the Principal Conductor.

In 1969 he joined first the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in South Africa as principal horn and then the SA Navy Band, playing horn, BBflat tuba, and a lot of golf, before moving finally to the Army Band as Music Librarian. He retired in 1991, returning to the UK to write novels and play more golf.

His classic tutor, On Playing The Horn, first published in 1983 and revised and expanded in 1992, is an absolute must for all horn players. He describes, with humour, wisdom, and long experience, the many qualities that make up a horn player’s character, playing technique, and how to survive as an orchestral musician.

Never forget that the most beautiful note in the world can become a disaster, unless it is played in the right place. F.C.

This great man, fine horn player, teacher, author of murder mystery books, cartoonist, writer of articles to music magazines eulogising the narrow bore horn and bemoaning the “cow horn German thing,” believer in a pure, clean, and open tone on the horn, raconteur, lover of fine malt whisky and poker, highly intelligent, a true bon viveur with a twinkly-eyed sense of humour, sometime tuba player and passionate golfer, left us three months after his 100th birthday. We will all miss him, as they don’t make these larger than life characters any more.

© Tony Catterick, Historian for The British Horn Society, July 2017.

This website uses cookies to enhance user experience, including login status. By using the site you are accepting the use of cookies.