Dennis Brain

Biography

Born: May 17, 1921; London, England   Died: September 1, 1957; Hatfield, England  
Few instrumentalists of the twenieth century did more to establish a solo role for an instrument than Dennis Brain. By age 36, he had helped restore the four Mozart and two Strauss horn concertos to the repertory, inspired Hindemith, Britten, and others to write for his instrument, and generally set the standard for twentieth century horn soloists.

Born in 1921, Brain was raised in a London horn-playing family. Both his father, Aubrey
Read more Brain, and his uncle played professionally, as did their father, Alfred Brain Sr., himself the son of a horn player. (His other brother, Leonard, was a noted oboist.) In 1936, he began studies with his father at the Royal Academy of Music, and two years later made an acclaimed London debut as a soloist in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 with the Busch Chamber Players.

Brain soon became a frequent soloist with the Royal Air Force Central Band, with which he filled the position of principal horn during World War II. His growing reputation was cemented during a goodwill tour of America, during which he received an invitation from Leopold Stokowski to join the Philadelphia Orchestra after the war. This was just one of several invitations that Brain received, however, and he eventually took the job of principal horn with the Royal Philharmonic. Later he moved on to become principal horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

All the while, Brain was a sought-after horn soloist and chamber musician. During the postwar years, he made a series of now-classic recordings of concertos by Mozart, Strauss, and Hindemith, as well as of various chamber and recital works. Among the additions to the horn literature directly inspired by Brain were works by Britten, Hindemith, Malcom Arnold, and Gordon Jacob. His virtuosic command of the instrument stimulated two of Britten's greatest chamber works, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1943) and the Canticle III (1953).

Brain took up conducting as well and founded a wind quintet that won him considerable fame. It was following a concert by this quintet at the Edinburgh Festival on September 1, 1957, that Brain was killed in a car accident on his way back to London. Benjamin Britten has written of that fateful night that "it has robbed us of an artist with the unique combination of superb technical command of his instrument, great musicianship, a lively and intelligent interest in music of all sorts, and a fine performing temperament, coupled with a charming personality." Read less
Browse 1-25 of 32 Available Recordings
1 2
  • 1.
    Decca Sound - Mono Years 1944-1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormière,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $213.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    The Early Recordings Of Joan Sutherland
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 100815 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  April Cantelo,  Raymond Nilsson,  Dennis Brain  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Fulvio Vernizzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsborough Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Dennis Brain Plays Mozart
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7069 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Karl Haas,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Baroque Ensemble
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Karajan And His Soloists, Vol. 1 (1948-1958)
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633625 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Dinu Lipatti,  Walter Gieseking,  Dennis Brain,  Bernard Walton  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Lucerne Festival Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $49.99
    Special Order
    CD:  $49.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
    CD: $98.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $98.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Gunter Wand - The Radio Recordings
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13038 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Olivier Messiaen,  Anton Webern,  Wolfgang Fortner  ... 
    Performer:  Erno Sebestyen,  Margaret Marshall,  Monique [Ondes Martenot] Matagne-Cavailles,  Tiny Wirtz  ... 
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    CD: $98.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $98.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Joan Sutherland: Rare Broadcasts
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1185 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giovanni Bononcini,  Charles Edward Horn  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  April Cantelo,  Richard Bonynge,  Ernest Lush  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cappella Coloniensis
    Recommendation
    On sale! $9.98
    CD: $7.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $9.98   CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    Gunter Wand Edition Vol 17 - Braunfels, Mozart, Baird
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Braunfels,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Tadeusz Baird
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Lothar Faber
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Mozart: Horn Concertos No  1 - 4, Quintet / Dennis Brain
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 6783282 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Colin Horsley
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble
    CD: $15.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    Dennis Brain - A Tribute
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5065 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Denis Matthews,  Gerald Moore
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Dennis Brain Ensemble
    CD: $9.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Paul Hindemith: Avant-gardist And Freethinker
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 233335 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith
    Performer:  Louis Cahuzac,  Monique Haas,  Dennis Brain,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hindemith,  Karel Ancerl
    CD: $39.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    Britten: Serenade For Tenor, Horn & Strings; Winter Words; Seven Sonnets Of Michelangelo
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1365 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  Dennis Brain,  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  Sir Eugene Goossens
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    The Artistry Of Dennis Brain
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1363 Release Date: 12/21/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Paul Dukas,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Leopold Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Gerald Moore,  Alfred Cursue,  Edmund Chapman  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Haas,  J.A. Westrup,  Norman Del Mar,  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Baroque Ensemble,  Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble
    CD: $9.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 14.
    Peter Pears - Anniversary Tribute
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 001437802 Release Date: 06/22/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Heinrich Schütz  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Peter Pears,  Jennifer Vyvyan,  Olive Dyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  Steuart Bedford,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Roger Norrington  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boyd Neel String Orchestra,  English Opera Group Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $53.99
    Import CD
    $48.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $53.99   CD:  $48.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 15.
    Britten: Serenade, Winter Words, Etc / Britten, Pears
    Label: London/Decca Historic Series   Catalog: 425996 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Peter Pears,  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boyd Neel String Orchestra
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 16.
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Léner String Quartet
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    Best Karajan 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15206 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Walton,  Dennis Brain,  Lothar Koch,  Maurice André  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 18.
    Icon - Dennis Brain - The Horn Player Performs Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6010 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Leopold Mozart,  Paul Dukas,  Gordon Jacob,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Gerald Moore,  Stephen Waters,  Gareth Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Norman Del Mar,  Sir Jack Allen Westrup,  Karl Haas,  Guido Cantelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morley College Symphony Orchestra,  Dennis Brain Ensemble,  Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $34.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $34.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 19.
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7034 Release Date: 01/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Lennox Berkeley,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Peter Pears,  Manoug Parikian,  Colin Horsley
    Conductor:  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Boyd Neel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra Strings,  Boyd Neel Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 20.
    The La Ner String Quartet: Volume 2 - Haydn & Mozart Recordings
    Label: Rockport Records   Catalog: 5006 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roman Hoffstetter,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Aubrey Brain
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Léner String Quartet
    CD: $15.49
    Back Order
    CD:  $15.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 21.
    Mozart: Piano Quartets, Horn Quintet / Curzon, Brain
    Label: London/Decca Historic Series   Catalog: 425960 Release Date: 12/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Max Gilbert,  Philip Burton,  Sydney Griller,  Dennis Brain  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Griller String Quartet,  Amadeus Quartet
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 22.
    Brain In The Orchestra Vol 2 - Tchaikovsky / Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7029 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Guido Cantelli Conducts Wagner And Brahms / Philharmonia
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1012 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $25.98
    CD: $21.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $25.98   CD:  $21.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 24.
    Brain In The Orchestra Vol 1 - Beethoven: Symphonies
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7016 Release Date: 05/30/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 25.
    Britten: Serenade, Les Illuminations, Nocturne / Pears, Brain, Britten
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4768470 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  Dennis Brain,  Willie Anthony Waters,  Osian Ellis  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $12.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

1 2