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Mozart: Horn Concertos 1-4, Quintet K 452 / Brain, Karajan


Release Date: 01/12/1999 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 66950   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dennis BrainCecil JamesStephen WatersLeonard Brain,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraDennis Brain Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Boyd Neel's oft-quoted comment that Dennis Brain was the finest Mozartian soloist of his generation comes readily to mind as one listens again to his 1954 recording of the four horn concertos. Of course Walter Legge, who admired his playing enormously, gave him an estimable advantage in securing Karajan to conduct the Philharmonia in the accompaniments. So many concerto records are spoiled by ineffective partnerships, but not this one.

Again and again Karajan matches the graceful line of the solo phrasing (the Romanza of No. 3, K 7, is just one ravishing example), while in the allegros the crisply articulated, often witty comments from the Philharmonia violins are a joy—I instance the Rondo of No. 2 K 17 or the dainty grace
Read more and tight, gossamer t Is in the first movement of No. 4, K 95. The glorious tone and the richly lyrical phrasing every note is alive—from Brain himself is life-enhancing in its radiant warmth. The flowing Andante of No. 2, the lovely Romanza of No. 3, and perhaps most enchanting of all the espressivo of the Romanza of No. 4. The Rondos have been much broadcast over the years by the BBC (Michael Flanders and Donald Swan did a marvellous parody of one of them, conscious that the tune was familiar to their listeners). They are not just spirited, buoyant, infectious and smiling, although they are all of these things, but they have the kind of natural flow that Beecham gave to Mozart.

There is also much dynamic subtlety—Brain doesn't just repeat the main theme the same as the first time, but alters its level and colour. His legacy to the next generation of British horn players (and those that have followed on afterwards) was to show them that the horn—a notoriously difficult instrument—could be tamed absolutely and that it could yield a lyrical line and a range of colour to match any other solo instrument. He was snatched away from us in his prime (killed in a car accident while travelling home overnight from the Edinburgh Festival—his driving was as legendary as his playing on September 1st, 1957). He left us this supreme Mozartian testament which may be approached by others (indeed, Barry Tuckwell Alan Civil and more recently Michael Thompson have all done so) but never quite equalled, for his was uniquely inspirational music-making, with a quality something like innocence to make it the more endearing.

-- Ivan March, Gramophone [2/1988]
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Works on This Recording

1.
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 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Kingsway Hall, London, England (11/12/1953 - 11/23/1953) 
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 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Kingsway Hall, London, England (11/12/1953 - 11/23/1953) 
3.
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 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 15 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Kingsway Hall, London, England (11/12/1953 - 11/23/1953) 
4.
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 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Kingsway Hall, London, England (11/12/1953 - 11/23/1953) 
5.
Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat major, K 452 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Cecil James (Bassoon), Stephen Waters (Clarinet), Leonard Brain (Oboe),
Colin Horsley (Piano), Dennis Brain (French Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Ensemble
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios No 1, London 
Length: 23 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Abbey Road Studios No 1, London (05/19/1954 - 05/23/1954) 

Sound Samples

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)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Poor Sound Quality Mars Brain's Mozart Horn Conce April 12, 2013 By James Spence (Victoria, BC) See All My Reviews "These recordings of performances by Dennis Brain of Mozart's horn concertos 1 - 4, made in the early 1950s, are strictly of historical interest. The recording quality of the originals must have been rather poor; or perhaps the re-mastering of them has been even worse. In either case the result is the same for the listener, and it is not a happy one. The mono sound is fuzzy, weak and indistinct." Report Abuse
 Dennis Brain ruled March 28, 2013 By Alan Young (Hilo, HI) See All My Reviews "Have loved Dennis Brain's playing of the Mozart horn concerti since 1958. A chance at a good price to renew the contact and get another performance was a wonderfully winning package. Thank you, Arkiv." Report Abuse
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