Edmond Leloir (1912-2003)
Edmund 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)
Harold 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.
Ingbert Michelsen (1917-1991)
Ingbert Michelsen was the leading horn player in Denmark and the teacher of a generation of Scandinavian horn players.
Michelsen was born in Skanderburg, Denmark in 1917. His father was a carpenter and amateur musician. Even before entering school, Michelsen started playing on an old tenor (alto) horn, then switched to trumpet. At age 10, he was admitted to a new Conservatory of Music in Århus. The teacher, Ejnar Knudsen of the Jutlandian Dragoons, arrived at the first lesson in his uniform, carrying his horn in a sack. He unpacked the horn and asked Michelsen, who had never seen a horn before, to try it. Michelsen did not dare refuse the imposing figure, and so horn became his instrument. Lessons were taken standing, with the military teacher also standing. Michelsen started playing third horn with the Århus Symphony Orchestra at age 12.
After four years at the Conservatory, Michelsen started training to become a builder since music was not considered to be a safe way to make a living. However, he paid for his education by playing wherever he could, and then, in quick succession, won an audition for the Royal Opera Orchestra in Copenhagen, was offered solo horn in the Århus Symphony, and finally won an audition for the Danish Radio Symphony, the position he held for 27 years (1942-1969). In 1949, he received a scholarship to study for four months with Gottfried von Freiberg in Vienna. He taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen from 1956 to 1984.
In addition to his outstanding orchestral work, Michelsen was highly regarded as a soloist and chamber musician. He performed many Danish premieres (Britten Serenade, Hindemith Sonata and Concerto) and solos dedicated to him (Niels Viggo Bentzon Sonata and Launy Grøndahl Concerto) as well as performing standard concertos throughout Europe. "[His] fabulous technique and outstanding flexibility over the whole range of his instrument, combined with his brilliant musicianship, made him one of the most loved chamber musicians of the country." He was also heard on soundtracks in Swedish films.
Few recordings of Michelsen are known, but admirers have collected tapes of his radio performances; Ib Lanzky-Otto played some of these at a Scandinavian Horn Club gathering. Michelsen was held in high regard by many conductors and visiting soloists. Rostropovich insisted that Michelsen share the solo bows after a performance of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1.
Michelsen's first horn was a Gottfried F horn dating from the 1880s; in later years, he found it in a second hand shop and bought it back. After leaving the conservatory, he acquired in double horn. Later he had a D descant horn made for him by Alexander, intended for the Bach B minor Mass but used for many other works in D, for its lighter, elegant tone quality rather than for ease of playing. He also designed mouthpieces and was a skilled furniture maker.
Michelsen was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1978. A tribute appears in the April 1992 issue of The Horn Call.
Richard Moore (1914-1988)
"Whether lasting through a Salome, pounding out a Long Call, backing up NBC script shows, or playing in Xavier Cugat's orchestra, Dick served his Art well. Loyal to his colleagues and dedicated to his students, Dick Moore demanded much of himself in maintaining the highest standards of teaching and performance."
Richard Moore studied with Lorenzo Sansone during his last year of high school. During his college years in Los Angeles, he studied with Georg Hofmann, played in a repertoire orchestra, and worked as an usher at the LA Philharmonic. "I was so interested in music that even though nobody had any money during the Depression, I'd go to a store that had miniature scores that were badly printed, seconds that were yellowed and old so they cost just pennies." He also worked summers at the Hollywood Bowl as a stage guard. He used the opportunities to listen to great musicians and learn from what he heard, marking the scores with his observations.
Moore returned to New York for graduate work at Juilliard, studying horn with Josef Franzl, his most influential teacher. He also took a few lessons with Anton Horner. He played in the National Training Orchestra. In 1936 he was offered his first professional contract as second horn with the Chautauqua Orchestra.
In quick succession, Moore played principal in the National Symphony, assistant first in Pittsburgh (where he spent his time practicing), then Radio City Music Hall and free-lance work in New York City. In 1940, he was accepted into the NBC Symphony, which included various other work such as brass band. A euphonium player in the brass band was also personnel manager of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and he recommended Moore to the Met.
Even while playing full-time at the Met (1942-1985, principal 1942-1964), Moore continued to free-lance and play television shows. He was justifiably proud of his accomplishments with the Met, especially the recordings of Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel (1947, no splicing), Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti (with Stiedry), and Strauss's Salome (with Welitch and Reiner). He appreciated working beside Gunther Schuller at the Met. "I was lucky to have such a sensitive musician who knew the scores that completely as a colleague." He felt that much musicality was lost in later years as horn players seemed concerned with playing higher, louder, faster. "Today we are getting players who are far better instrumentally prepared, better technicians, but not musically prepared."
Moore taught for 22 years at the Manhattan School of Music. He wrote methods (A French Horn Primer and French Horn Method I & II), a warm-up book (Master Horn Warm-up and Flexibility Studies), Operatic French Horn Passages, and Anthology of French Horn Music (excerpts with detailed comments, published in 1993). He was a demanding but inspiring teacher. He listened to live and recorded music, especially of singers, and studied scores to know what everyone else was playing, and he recommended such studies to his students. "I'd study how singers phrased things, especially in opera, since I often played the same phrase with them before, during, or after they sang it."
Moore was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1987. A tribute on the occasion of his retirement from the Met appears in the April 1986 issue of The Horn Call, and another, after his death, in the April 1989 issue.
Reginald Morley-Pegge (1890-1972)
Reginald Morley-Pegge's book The French Horn (Benn, 1960) is one of the finest and most scholarly texts on the history of the instrument, although long out of print. His vast collection of wind instruments is housed in the Bate Collection (www.bate.ox.ac.uk) at the University of Oxford.
Reginald Frederick Morley Pegge was born in London in 1890. Morley, the name most used by his friends, was originally a given name that eventually muted into his surname. The family moved to Brighton and Morley-Pegge was sent to school at Summerfields in Oxford and Harrow, where he was a member of the school orchestra. Here he came into contact with Tom Busby and through him W.F.H. Blandford; correspondence with Blandford is a source of much horn lore.
France played an important part in Morley-Pegge's life. He was sent there to learn the language, spent a short time as an estate agent in Essex, and then returned to France at age 21 to study at the Paris Conservatoire. He studied horn with Brémond and hand-horn with Vuillermoz, laying the foundation for his tremendous control of the instrument. He was admired for the style and integrity of his performance, although he never had great physical strength or endurance.
In 1917, he married Anne Taylor of Paris, and his son was born in 1918. Morley-Pegge served in the British Forces in both World Wars. After World War I, he served with the army of occupation in France until 1919, then with the Reparation Commission until 1925, during which time he had leisure to play the horn and investigate its history. He then worked in the advertising department of Citroen in Paris until he secured posts as a professional musician in 1927. When the Germans invaded in 1940, the family fled to Edinburgh, leaving most possessions, including his instrument collection, behind. His son later returned to the house in France and found the collection mostly intact.
From 1927, Morley-Pegge played with the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, then the Colonne (Paris) Orchestra, Association des Concerts Poulet, and the Paris Radio Orchestra. During world War II, he played for the Reid Orchestra in Edinburgh (while also working in military transport) and later for the Ballet des Champs Élysées and the International Ballet. While in Edinburgh, he developed a friendship with Lyndesay Langwill, and their correspondence is also a trove of lore. At this time, he became a historian of the serpent and of other brass and woodwind instruments in addition to the horn.
During all this time, Morley-Pegge added to his knowledge of the history and theory of the horn, examining, playing, and photographing every example that came his way. He built up an encyclopedic body of knowledge that was the basis for his authoritative book, articles for Grove, and a vast correspondence. In the 1930s, he was invited to recatalogue the wind instruments in the collection of the Paris Conservatoire, a mark of the esteem in which his scholarship was already held. He also became an accomplished photographer and frequently exhibited at the Paris Salon. He was known as a genial man, a wit, and a connoisseur of wine and food.
Morley-Pegge was friends with Philip Bate from 1939, first by correspondence and then in person. Most of his instrument collection and all of his papers went to the Bate Collection at Oxford. Morley-Pegge was a founder and active in the Galpin Society from its inception in 1946. This brought him into a wider musicological circle. He also had many correspondents, including many from the US, and he was meticulous in replying.
During most of his playing career, Morley-Pegge was faithful to the French type of horn on which his technique had been formed, although later he used a Kruspe double horn and finally a Berlin Schmidt B-flat horn with an added valve and supplementary slides. This last horn was bought by Harold Meek of the Boston Symphony Orchestra after Morley-Pegge's death (the two had corresponded but never met).
Morley-Pegge was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1971. Tributes appear in the November 1972 issue of The Horn Call and at the Bate Collection website.
Max Pottag (1876-1970)
Pottage was born in Forst, Germany in 1876. He started music with a toy violin at age five and the accordion at seven. He took up trumpet at 14, playing in the city band as an apprentice and changing to horn after a year. At 19, he joined the band of the German Navy in Wilhelmshaven and traveled extensively with Kaiser Wilhelm on his private yacht.
In 1899, Pottag entered the Leipzig Conservatory as a scholarship student, studying with Friedrich Gumpert, and graduated with honors in 1901. He played first horn with the Hamburg Symphony for a short time before emigrating to the US.
In the US, Pottage became second horn in the Philadelphia Orchestra (1901-1902), Pittsburgh Orchestra (1902-1905), and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1905-1907). He was a member of the Chicago Symphony for 40 years (1907-1947), playing second horn until 1944, then fourth horn until his retirement. While in Chicago, he was also associated with the Little Symphony Orchestra of Chicago and taught horn at Northwestern University (1934-1952). He gave clinics and conducted large horn ensembles all over the US.
Pottag wrote and arranged music for the horn throughout his life. His three volumes of excerpts was one of the first compilations of the standard orchestral horn passages in the US, an invaluable aid to generations of horn students. His publications also include daily exercises, a method book with Nilo Hovey, and numerous arrangements for horn and horn ensemble. He wrote articles on various aspects of horn playing in The School Musician, The Instrumentalist, Symphony, and Woodwind World.
Pottag designed a horn for Reynolds, with a design similar to the Holton Farkas model, that was known as the Pottag Model. He also helped redesign the Conn 6D and developed several mouthpieces for each company.
Pottag was honored as an honorary member of Pi Kappa Lambda and the Horn Club of Los Angeles. He was cited by Ball State University (Muncie IN) as "Master Musician, Master Teacher, Teacher of Master Teachers."
Pottag was a founding member of the IHS and was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1974. A tribute appears in the Fall 1971 issue of The Horn Call.
Lorenzo Sansone (1881-1975)
Sansone was born in 1881 in Monte Sant'Angelo, Italy. Despite disapproval from his father, Sansone began playing flugelhorn in the town band at age 10. At 13, he was hired by a band in another town to play horn and also played in the town orchestra. Because no horn teachers lived in the area, he taught himself, and he was proud of this fact.
In 1903, Sansone emigrated to the US and started playing in the Chiafferelli Italian Band. After three years, he became conductor of the Ventura (CA) City Band. He arranged, edited, and composed music for that band and taught various instruments in Oxnard CA.
Sansone's orchestral career included virtually all the major orchestras in the US in the first half of the 20th century (some now defunct); Los Angeles Symphony, Denver Symphony (1909-1910), St. Paul Symphony (1910-1911), St. Louis Symphony (1912-1915), Chicago Symphony (1914 summer), Cincinnati Symphony (1915-1918), Detroit Symphony (1918-1919), New York Symphony (1920-1922), Beethoven Symphony (1927), National Broadcasting Orchestra (1929), Metropolitan Opera (1931-1933).
Sansone was on the faculty of Juilliard School from 1921 to 1946, where he taught nearly 300 students. He also taught privately at his shop and later at his home. He often said, "You are your own best teacher." He taught primarily from method books and stressed learning transposition by clefs rather than intervals. He often played for his students to illustrate his ideas. Sansone published etudes, two method books, editions of standard repertoire, and French Horn Music Literature with Composers' Biographical Sketches. Southern Music took over his publications. He published a series of articles in The International Musician in the early 1940s.
Sansone played a Kruspe double horn for 11 years but switched to a five-valve B-flat horn in 1914, while he was playing in St. Louis, and stayed with the B-flat horn for the remainder of his career. The horns were manufactured to Sansone's specifications by Wunderlich in Chicago from 1914, by Kruspe from 1916, and finally, from 1954, by Sansone at his shop, Sansone Musical Instruments, in New York City. The shop was established in 1925, with most of the business in publications in the early years. After 1954 he manufactured the five-valve B-flat horn, other brass and wind instruments, mouthpieces (metal and Lucite), woodwind reed tools, and mutes. His son Lawrence, who was also a professional horn player, eventually took over the business.
Sansone was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1971. A tribute appears in the November 1975 issue of The Horn Call and an article on his life and accomplishments in the February 2005 issue.
James Stagliano (1912-1987)
James Stagliano was best known for his expressive style of playing and his great high register, and he was the first hornist to record the high baroque music of Steinmetz, Barsanti, Handel, and Telemann. For a time, he held the record for the highest note recorded on a horn, an E-flat (concert A-flat) in the cadenza of a the Mozart Concert Rondo. He was a great lyrical player and truly representative of the style of cantabile playing taught by the fine Italian musicians of that period.
Stagliano was born in Italy in 1912 and emigrated to the US as a child. He first learned piano, then studied horn with his uncle. His father, a trumpeter, also gave him some training. At age 16, Stagliano joined the Detroit Symphony as assistant principal horn to his uncle. He moved to the St. Louis Symphony as principal horn, then in 1936 to Los Angeles, where he played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic until 1944 and became a leading player in the studios, especially Fox Studios. His movie credits include Gone With the Wind and Fantasia.
He left Los Angeles to play in the Cleveland Orchestra under Leinsdorf, but after a year was persuaded by Koussevitzky to join the Boston Symphony, where he stayed for a remarkable reign from 1947 to 1973. He founded Boston Records and, with Sarah Caldwell, the Opera Company of Boston.
Stagliano reached many players through his recordings and broadcasts, although his recorded legacy suffers from primitive recording techniques and little or no splicing. He was a natural player and had few students, but he did have some advice. He recommended standing up while practicing because of the natural support this provides. He felt that the best horn playing has "repose," by which he seemed to mean savoring each tone to the maximum, avoiding any sense of urgency or compulsion to get through. He refused to let a poor performance bother him, and he advocated relaxing when away from the horn.
Stagliano played an Alexander double horn for nearly everything except Bach, for which he used a Kruspe single high F horn. He was elected an IHS Honorary Member in 1981.