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Icon - Dennis Brain - The Horn Player Performs Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, Et Al


Release Date: 09/02/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 6010   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartRichard StraussLudwig van BeethovenRichard Wagner,   ... 
Performer:  Dennis BrainDenis MatthewsGerald MooreColin Horsley,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von KarajanWolfgang SawallischPaul KletzkiPaul Hindemith,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraDennis Brain EnsembleLondon Baroque Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Mono 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A parade of great performances.

Brain deserves his place in the Icon series by virtue of his exalted status in the demanding ranks of solo horn players. That said much of the material here is of the EMI merry-go-round variety and will be over-familiar to many. Which is not to decry its availability in this four disc, very reasonably priced box.

The Brain/Karajan Mozart concerto cycle has long been a staple of the catalogues. It’s currently available in a number of guises from EMI’s own GROC incarnation and Naxos’ restoration to an Andromeda transfer and things in between. A live K447 with that masterful conductor Hans Rosbaud has shown how much more flair and immediacy the less well known collaboration was
Read more able to generate; and this despite the critically accepted truism that the Karajan-Brain partnership was a Rolls Royce affair. It is of course; it’s just that I’d prefer to have heard Brain with Rosbaud in all four (the Second Concerto also exists).

This box however does include Brain’s first ever recording, of the Fourth Concerto K495 in which Laurence Turner, the Hallé Orchestra’s leader, conducts the finale (which was recorded first) and Malcolm Sargent – who was late – the remainder. It preserves the sound of the Raoux French horn that Brain was later to lay aside in favour of the wide-bore German; the Karajan sessions were made with a German horn. The 1946 recording of the Second Concerto K417 with Süsskind is another example of a congenial partnership. Brain considered that some of his very finest playing on disc came in the 1947 recording of Strauss’s First Concerto with Galliera. Certainly the ebullience, bravura, legato and tonal beauty are remarkable examples of his art and this is an absolutely essential Brain artefact. The rest of the first disc includes the Beethoven sonata recording with Denis Matthews – splendid ensemble, witty and wise phrasing. His Schumann with Gerald Moore is mellifluous; the Wagner extract derives from the Instruments of the Orchestra set presided over by Sargent.

The second disc includes the Mozart Karajan performances as well as the Quintet for piano and wind in E flat K452 where he’s joined by his Wind Ensemble and pianist Colin Horsley. The better-known recording is the Gieseking-Brain-Sutcliffe-Walton-James one from 1955 but this earlier May 1954 recording is, if less starry, probably better balanced as an ensemble.

The third disc gives us a parade of great performances. The 1956 recordings of both Strauss concertos with Sawallich are here. Brain had long since shifted to the German double horn so interest accrues from hearing the tonal qualities of the two horns in the First Concerto; the earlier recording with Galliera was of the unrevised work but with Sawallich Brain of course recorded the revised version. The composer-conducted Hindemith was a shoe-in for this set though its origins were problematic. Brain was to have recorded it with Klemperer in 1954 but the two men didn’t get on at all and their attempt at a recording broke down. The Berkeley Trio is more evidence of his exploratory attitude to contemporary compositions and his excellence in realising them.

The final disc gives us Eine Musikalischer Spass K522 with Cantelli and colleagues Manoug Parikian and Neill Sanders. As Heifetz once proved in private you have to be very good to play this badly. The Gordon Jacob Sextet is another example of the superior standards set by Brain’s own Ensemble – not surprising given the names involved here; Gareth Morris, Leonard Brain, Stephen Waters, Cecil James and George Malcolm (on the piano). There are examples from HMV’s History of Music in Sound album – Haydn and Mozart’s K289 and the famous Hoffnung concert where Brain played a hosepipe.

Stephen Pettit, Brain’s biographer, has compiled some relevant booklet notes. The transfers are unproblematic, the box sturdy and the price right.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Horn no 4 in E flat major, K 495 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 32 Minutes 27 Secs. 
2. Concerto for Horn no 2 in E flat major, K 417 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1783; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 26 Minutes 26 Secs. 
3. Concerto for Horn no 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882-1883; Germany 
Length: 30 Minutes 24 Secs. 
4. Sonata for Horn and Piano in F major, Op. 17: 1st movement, Allegro moderato by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Denis Matthews (Piano), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 34 Secs. 
5. Siegfried: Siegfried's Horn Call by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
6. Adagio and Allegro for Horn/Cello and Piano in A flat major, Op. 70 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
7. Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Nocturne by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Paul Kletzki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 58 Secs. 
8. Concerto for Horn no 1 in D major, K 412 (386b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 27 Secs. 
9. Concerto for Horn no 3 in E flat major, K 447 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784-1787; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 15 Minutes 9 Secs. 
10. Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat major, K 452 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn), Colin Horsley (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Ensemble
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
11. Concerto for Horn no 2 in E flat major, AV 132 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1942; Germany 
Length: 18 Minutes 24 Secs. 
12. Concerto for Horn by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Paul Hindemith
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Length: 14 Minutes 23 Secs. 
13. Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano, Op. 44 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Colin Horsley (Piano), Dennis Brain (French Horn), Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952 
Length: 23 Minutes 0 Secs. 
14. Eine musikalischer Spass, K 522 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Manoug Parikian (Violin), Neill [French Horn] Sanders (French Horn), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 19 Minutes 29 Secs. 
15. Divertimento for 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns no 14 in B flat major, K 270 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Stephen Waters (Clarinet), Gareth Morris (Flute), Leonard Brain (Oboe),
Cecil James (Bassoon), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Ensemble
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Anthony Baines. 
16. Divertimento for 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns in E flat major, K 289 (271g) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gareth Morris (Flute), Cecil James (Bassoon), Leonard Brain (Oboe),
Dennis Brain (French Horn), Stephen Waters (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Ensemble
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Anthony Baines. 
17. Partita in D major: Minuet & Trio by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Karl Haas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Baroque Ensemble
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
18. Symphony no 31 in D major, H 1 no 31 "Hornsignal": 1st movement, Allegro by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Alfred Cursue (French Horn), Edmund Chapman (French Horn), Neill [French Horn] Sanders (French Horn),
Gareth Morris (Flute), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Sir Jack Allen Westrup
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1765; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
19. Pičces brčves (3) for Wind Quintet by Jacques Ibert
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn), Gareth Morris (Flute), Stephen Waters (Clarinet),
Leonard Brain (Oboe), Cecil James (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; France 
Length: 7 Minutes 11 Secs. 
20. Sextet for Piano and Winds in B flat major, Op. 6 by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  George Malcolm (Piano), Dennis Brain (French Horn), Cecil James (Bassoon),
Gareth Morris (Flute), Stephen Waters (Clarinet), Leonard Brain (Oboe)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; England 
Length: 20 Minutes 10 Secs. 
21. Villanelle for Horn and Piano by Paul Dukas
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; France 
Length: 6 Minutes 14 Secs. 
22. Concerto for Horn in D major: Finale by Leopold Mozart
Performer:  Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Conductor:  Norman Del Mar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morley College Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 18th Century; Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 41 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Horn Concerto No.4 in E flat, K.495 (2008 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro moderato (cadenza by Norman del Mar)
Horn Concerto No.4 in E flat, K.495 (2008 Digital Remaster): II. Romanza: Andante
Horn Concerto No.4 in E flat, K.495 (2008 Digital Remaster): III. Rondo: Allegro vivace
Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat K417 (2008 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro maestoso
Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat K417 (2008 Digital Remaster): II. Andante
Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat K417 (2008 Digital Remaster): III. Rondo
Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major Op. 11 (2008 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro
Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major Op. 11 (2008 Digital Remaster): II. Andante
Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major Op. 11 (2008 Digital Remaster): III. Allegro - Rondo (Allegro)
Horn Sonata in F, Op.17 (2008 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro moderato
Horn Sonata in F, Op.17 (2008 Digital Remaster): II. Poco adagio quasi lento - Allegro moderato
Siegfried's Horn Call (2008 Digital Remaster)
Adagio & Allegro in A flat, Op.70 (2008 Digital Remaster): I. Adagio
Adagio & Allegro in A flat, Op.70 (2008 Digital Remaster): II. Allegro
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 - No.7 Nocturne (2008 Digital Remaster)
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 1 in D Major, KV412 (1997 Digital Remaster): First movement: Allegro
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 1 in D Major, KV412 (1997 Digital Remaster): Second movement: Rondo (Allegro) (K514 version, arr. Süßmayr)
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 2 in E flat major, KV417 (1997 Digital Remaster): First movement: Allegro maestoso
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 2 in E flat major, KV417 (1997 Digital Remaster): Second movement: Andante
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 2 in E flat major, KV417 (1997 Digital Remaster): Third movement: Rondo
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 3 in E flat major, KV447 (1997 Digital Remaster): First movement: Allegro
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 3 in E flat major, KV447 (1997 Digital Remaster): Second movement: Romance (Larghetto)
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 3 in E flat major, KV447 (1997 Digital Remaster): Third movement: Allegro
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 4 in E flat major, KV495 (1997 Digital Remaster): First movement: Allegro moderato
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 4 in E flat major, KV495 (1997 Digital Remaster): Second movement: Romanza (Andante)
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 4 in E flat major, KV495 (1997 Digital Remaster): Third movement: Rondo (Allegro vivace)
Quintet in E flat for Piano and Wind, K452 (1997 Digital Remaster): I. Largo - Allegro moderato
Quintet in E flat for Piano and Wind, K452 (1997 Digital Remaster): II. Larghetto
Quintet in E flat for Piano and Wind, K452 (1997 Digital Remaster): III. Rondo (Allegro)

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