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Appendix C Talking About the Horn

Stephen Gamble and William Lynch University of North Texas Press PDF

APPENDIX

C

Talking About the Horn

Talking About the Instrument: No. 7, The Horn

Illustrated Talk by Dennis Brain

General Overseas Service

Pre-Recorded on March 19, 1956

Recorded Talks Reference Number: TOX 39218

Broadcast on Tuesday March 27, 1956, 06:30–07:00 GMT

The second radio talk was “No. 7, The Horn” in the series Talking About the Instrument for the

General Overseas Service.

The BBC correspondence files describe the stages of its planning. Brain received a contract for this broadcast on March 8, 1956. Rosemary Jellis, Overseas Talks department, wrote to Miss

Firth, Music Bookings that “At last we have nailed Dennis Brain down to record his programme in this series on Monday, 19 March . . .” It was broadcast on Tuesday March 27, 1956, at

06.30–07.00 Greenwich Mean Time and repeated the next day (Wednesday, March 28) at 02.30 a.m. GMT and Thursday, March 29, at 19.30 GMT. We do not know whether a recording has been preserved. Most likely, as with an enormous number of his BBC recorded programs, it had a shelf life and after that had expired, it would have been destroyed. The only evidence of it, therefore, is the entry in the “program as broadcast” file for General Overseas Service.1

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Chapter 3 The Brain Quintet and Ensemble

Stephen Gamble and William Lynch University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER

3

The Brain Quintet and Ensemble

Brain formed the Dennis Brain Wind Quintet in 1946, while still in the RAF.

It later expanded and was named the Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble.

Wind Quintet

Brain’s participation in new chamber music ensembles created during wartime may have given him the idea of starting his own ensemble before he was released from RAF duties. Still in uniform, he established the Dennis Brain

Wind Quintet, which after demobilization in September 1946 became very busy, giving concerts in the British Isles and occasionally for broadcast.

Brain returned from his month’s tour with the RAF Symphony Orchestra in Germany at the beginning of May 1946. He was too late to take part in the Quintet’s first concert at the Chelsea Town Hall on April 30, 1946, with

Denis Matthews at the piano. As his horn colleague Norman Del Mar remembered, he played in Brain’s place and flutist Gareth Morris (Pl. 1) also took part. Morris’s diary usually indicated “Q” for Quintet engagements, which invariably included works for other combinations. The diary is the source of many details of the Quintet’s schedule.1

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Chapter 2 The RAF Years (1939–1946)

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CHAPTER

2

The RAF Years

(1939–1946)

Brain was in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II and a year afterwards. He continued studies at the Royal Academy of Music during the war and augmented playing in the RAF Symphony Orchestra with musical engagements in London and the provinces.

RAF duties took Brain to RAF bases at home and abroad and to some extent restricted outside engagements. Sometimes he had to turn down offers of work owing to schedule conflicts and to his increasing demand as a soloist. His concerts as well as broadcasts in solo repertoire increased from 1941 onwards on home and overseas transmissions. This was in addition to many chamber music recitals and broadcasts with strings and other combinations.

He was not restricted to classical music but ventured into the sphere of dance bands, light music, and music for the film industry. With so many musicians away in the services abroad, he was much in demand for film soundtracks as well as in the many ensembles and orchestras being established in and around

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Chapter 6 A Horn Virtuoso's Letters

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CHAPTER

6

A Horn Virtuoso’s

Letters

In his now famous Desert Island Discs appearance on the Home Service,

August 13, 1956, Brain mentions that he is a bad correspondent and that he would choose to take a typewriter with him to his desert island to remind him every time he wakes up that he does not have to write a letter! Yet all his correspondence was handwritten. Some of his correspondence, perhaps, will never come to light—letters he wrote to the general public, to concert agents, friends, colleagues, composers, and family.

Those letters that remain reveal much about what kind of man he was, music apart. They show that he was polite, modest, generous, with a good sense of humor. The letters also suggest that he was excellent at time-keeping and organization of his musical schedule. The time-keeping was something he also did as a challenge; when, for example, traveling from Dieppe to Nice, he would look at a notebook he kept of the times for journeys to work out his previous records for the distance traveled by car and how he could beat his own record.1

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Appendix A Brain Ensemble Music Library

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APPENDIX

A

Brain Ensemble Music Library

Audrey Brain has stated that the music scores used for the Quintet’s engagements were divided equally between the Brain brothers. This may have been a precaution in case one or the other was indisposed at the last minute and a deputy was required for either.1

Some of the scores are handwritten copies; a few appear to be autograph manuscripts of composers, including Fricker’s Quintet, with instruction on the oboe part, and an unknown quintet (composed in 1946) by a pupil of Paul Hindemith, Heinrich Jacoby (b.1909–d.1990), also known as Hanoch Jacoby. Poulenc’s Sextet (minus the piano part) has Brain’s signature and that of Poulenc on each of the parts. This is probably the score used for the performance with Poulenc at Wigmore Hall in the winter of 1947. Poulenc does not appear to have played with them on any other occasion. Mozart’s Serenade K388 also has Brain’s signature on each part. The Serenade K375 has Leonard Brain’s initials on each part.

The following are what remains of that collection. Scores used by the Quintet after Brain’s death are not listed. How extensive the repertoire may have been originally can only be judged from the works performed and also from the works for quintet that were in Brain’s music library. Evidence of these is contained in a letter to Denis Stevens, dated November 3, 1951 (with Brain’s approximate timings after each piece).2

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