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Chapter 12 New Directions

Stephen Gamble and William Lynch University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER

12

New Directions

In the last ten years of his life, Brain scheduled engagements well into the future with the Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra, the

Brain-Pougnet-Parry Trio, and as a soloist, as well as prospective opportunities to conduct, compose, and arrange. How might his career have developed, given an average lifespan ahead of him and taking into consideration his extraordinary achievements at the age of thirty-six?

Donald Froud, a professional horn player, remembered Brain in his last year, and it is clear from his recollections and from those of other colleagues, that Brain was searching for new ways to express himself musically.

I spoke to Dennis in the summer of 1957. He was sitting in his beloved

TR2 outside the V&A [Victoria & Albert] in Kensington where he was due to give a recital, but was not anxious to go in until the last minute. That was always his way with solo engagements. He said to me, “You know,

Donald, I’ve got a reputation in the business for never cracking a note, but every morning I wake up I’m one day older and it’s one day harder to live up to that. My ambition now is to take up conducting and let others do the playing!”1

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Discography

Stephen Gamble and William Lynch University of North Texas Press PDF

Discography

Introduction

The intent of this discography is to give as comprehensive a listing of Brain’s solo and chamber recordings as possible, together with a selection of orchestral recordings, and to reveal newly discovered recordings that have not been featured in any previously published discography. It includes quotations from The Gramophone, Monthly Musical Record, Radio Times, and other sources, but it is not a complete list of every recording that Brain is known to have made.

New works include six solo works for horn and orchestra, two for horn, violin, and piano, three for wind quintet, eight chamber music works for various combinations, fourteen orchestral works, five performances in international archives collections (solo and chamber works), and two of film media. The new items are marked with an asterisk (*).

This list includes commercial recordings (published and unpublished) as well as radio archive recordings and off-the-air recordings. Matrix numbers for recording takes are given only if a recording is unpublished, for example, the British Library Sound Archive takes of the

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Chapter 6 A Horn Virtuoso's Letters

Stephen Gamble and William Lynch University of North Texas Press PDF

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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Chapter 8 Reminiscences by Colleagues

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CHAPTER

8

Reminiscences by

Colleagues

The memories of colleagues and friends abound with engaging and amusing anecdotes that help to compensate for the lack of personal letters

(Chapter 6). One of the most striking aspects of these reminiscences is how vivid they are and how they help to paint something of a character sketch of Brain.

The word “colleague” in this chapter includes musicians other than horn players in orchestras throughout the British Isles and in other countries.

Horn players provide their reminiscences in Chapter 9.

In a career of nineteen years from 1938 to 1957, Brain worked with many of the finest musicians in the British Isles and abroad. The Discography mentions only a few of the enormous number of musicians with whom he performed. Without a personal diary and with such a busy schedule, it is impossible to determine precisely where he was all the time.

It would be impossible to mention all the musicians who remember Brain and recall the music they made together, but this chapter includes some of the more prominent.

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Chapter 3 The Brain Quintet and Ensemble

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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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