In the first part of the Twentieth century, Louis Dufrasne (pronounced: doo-'fraan) was a highly praised performer, who held major first horn positions in opera and symphony orchestras in Europe and the United States. He was known for his beauty of tone, artistry and impeccable technique.
He tutored Philip Farkas, Helen Kotas, Frank Brouk, and Clyde Miller, to name but four of his students who went on to have great careers of their own. They in turn went on to teach their own students, who also have gone on to teach, by now, legions of others. Today, arguably, there is a little bit of Dufrasne in most horn players in the United States, and a multitude of others around the world.
Farkas, former principal horn of the Chicago Symphony and Distinguished Professor at Indiana University, cited Dufrasnes teachings as the biggest single influence in his life.
Frank Brouk, one of Mr. Dufrasnes last students, who only took a few lessons with him around 1940-41, said that Dufrasne once told him you have to be a slave to the horn.
Brouk, a brilliant hornist who played principal in the Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, said Dufrasne was a terrific horn player, with endurance like nobody else he went through all his exercises before every concert ... nice man, gentle, nice to his students.
So here, published for the first time, are the exercises that Dufrasne went through before every concert. After you play them, you will understand at least part of what gave Dufrasne endurance like nobody else.
The 27 page book contains a complete practice routine, the one that Louis Dufrasne used daily when he was at the peak of his performing career. Greatest benefit will come from playing it through entirely, from first note to last, as a daily workout over a period of time. It can be played through in less than one hour including appropriate short rests between exercises but caution is advised when first attempting it. The goal is not just to play it through in less than one hour, but rather to play each exercise beautifully and easily, with rich, full tone (even in soft dynamics), free flowing air, and little physical effort. Though it may take even some advanced players many months to achieve the goal, along with it will come an evenness of tone production throughout the range of the instrument, amazing flexibility, and great endurance.
Thomas Bacon, Editor