Oscar Franz (1843-1886--many sources give the year of his passing as 1889, which is incorrect [Damm, 5]) was one of the most prominent teachers and performers of the horn in the late nineteenth century. Franz spent most of his career in Dresden, where he taught at the Dresden Conservatory [Pizka, 134, and Morley-Pegge, 166. There is a surprising almost total lack of modern biographical information on Oscar Franz]. Franz was well respected in his time, and it is to him that Richard Strauss (1864-1949) dedicated the orchestral score of his Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11 (1883) [Johnson, 59. The original piano reduction, prepared by Richard Strauss, is however dedicated to his father, Franz Strauss]. Oscar Franz wrote a number of teaching materials for the horn. His Grosse theoretisch-practische Waldhorn-Schule [Complete Theoretical and Practical Horn Method] was first published around 1880. In this method Franz put forth many of his ideas for performing on the horn.
Franz opened his method, as had Kling, with exercises for the open natural horn. The hand horn is introduced soon afterward with the following advice, which hornists of any period would be wise to follow.
It is extremely important for the beginner to become proficient in 'Stopped Horn' playing as soon as possible. Through its practice the player's ear is sharpened and the tone developed to an unusual extent. The player must endeavor to produce these 'Stopped Notes' as clearly as possible, and the difference in tonal quality between these and the 'Natural Tones' must be equalized as much as possible; the 'Stopped Tones' must not sound as though a cloth had been introduced into the instrument. If a player has become proficient in 'Stopped Horn' playing, it will be an easy matter for him to keep on playing, even if in case of an accident one of the valves refuse[s] to work; if he has only studied the Valve Horn an accident of this kind would render him helpless and compel him to discontinue [Franz, 35]. (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)