Concerto de Cuisine
for piano and und kitchen appliances
Piano score and parts
Henri Adrien Louis Kling was born in Paris on February 14, 1842, to a French mother and German father. The family soon returned to the father’s hometown of Karlsruhe, where the young Henri experienced the death of his mother. When the child began to learn the horn he was fortunate enough to study with a master, Jacob Dorn. The artistic highlights of Kling’s teenage years were the innovative Wagner productions mounted by Karlsruhe opera director Eduard Devrient, which made the city’s artistic reputation and turned the young hornist into a great admirer of Wagner (he would later commission a Wagner memorial in Mornex in the Savoy). At nineteen Kling won the solo horn post in Geneva, to which he would add the post of professor at the Conservatoire (horn and solfège, later theory). He also became an adopted son of Geneva, taking Swiss citizenship in 1865.
Kling was a dynamo, and orchestra and conservatory were not enough to keep him occu-pied. As other notable horn virtuosos have done, he published a horn method (Méthode pour le cor, the autograph of which is housed at the library of the Geneva Conservatoire [Rmg 467] with the author’s inscription “Genève 1865, H. Kling”), etudes, arrangements, and editions of the literature (he made piano reductions of Mozart’s concerti and Concert Rondo, and Weber’s Concertino). In fact, Kling went much further, authoring methods, etudes, and solo editions for many other instruments, including flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, viola, bass, piano, guitar, mandolin, zither, banjo, xylophone, snare drum, etc..
Posts as organist, singing teacher and conductor followed, and Kling collected volumes of Swiss folksongs, Christmas carols and children’s songs. He also composed well over 500 works with opus numbers and many more without. These included the Symphony in D major, four operas that were performed in Geneva, a horn concerto and sonata, overtures, chamber music, vocal music (choruses, Lieder) and salon pieces. Contempo-rary Alfred Remy dismissed the latter as “mediocre,” but they were undeniably successful, and several of them are preserved in early Edison cylinder recordings. The humorous Kitchen Concert, op. 445 for Piano and Kitchen Utensils was first issued by Louis Oertel of Hanover (plate no. 1295), and also appeared with orchestral accompaniment. Despite the work’s continued popularity (it was recorded by EMI in the 1970s) it was long out of print until the appearance of this facsimile edition.
Something of a cottage industry, Henri Kling was also a productive writer. In his unique position straddling two cultures and publishing simultaneously in two languages, he had a distinguished reputation in both French and German-speaking lands (English translations would also follow). Books included a biography of Mozart, and influential methods for composition, orchestration, conducting and transposition. Kling contributed many articles to Swiss, French, German and Italian journals, on expected subjects like Giovanni Punto or the hunting horn, but also on folk music, Beethoven, Wagner, and even further afield to Schiller, Rousseau and Martin Luther. At his death in the city on May 2, 1918 artistic Geneva mourned the loss of this remarkable hornist, composer, theorist, historian and Officier d’Académie de France. “Henri Kling,” concluded the scholar Willy Tappolet, “was one of the most fruitful and versatile of those Genevan composers who, performers themselves, composed their music for practical use.”