Richard Burdick’s two CD’s released as CD30 & CD31 are both of music which Gallay used the term “Grand” in the title. These harks back to the terrific music of his teacher: Dauprat with his very popular grand sextet.
These CD’s are recorded on natural horn, most in Eb with the tuning pitch center @ A = 432
Jacques-François Gallay was born in 1795 in Perpignan, France, where he received his earliest horn instruction from his father. At the age of 25, he was admitted to Dauprat’s horn class despite the fact that he was above the normal age for admission. He won a premier prix after his first year of study, and was soon performing regularly in professional Parisian ensembles.
During the classical period in music, horn players were trained either as high players or low players. Gallay was, by nature, a cor alto (high player), but many of his exercises and solo pieces are written in the relatively narrow range of the cor mixte (a middle range playing style). He is considered by some to be the “last great hand horn virtuoso in France,” but he received mix criticism such as:“he went up like an angel, but could not go down”. The only adverse criticism of Gallay’s playing which appeared justified was in regard to the limited range which he used on the horn. He seemed to wish, like Frédéric Duvernoy, to circumscribe himself within the limits of the Cor mixte, resulting in a certain monotony that the greatest perfection of detail could not obliterate.
Gallay was appointed to the Paris Conservatoire to succeed his teacher, Dauprat, as professor of hand horn. His Préludes mesurés et non-mesurés, Op. 27, had appeared only a few years before this appointment. Approximately three years later, in 1845, he produced his Méthode pour le Cor, the last major nautral horn tutor.
Gallay died October 18, 1864 while still engaged in his position at the Conservatoire. It was not until 1903 that the valve horn became the officially recognized horn at the Paris Conservatoire and many authors attribute the remarkable delay in its acceptance to Gallay and his excellent hand horn playing and teaching.