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Encyclopedia > Dennis Brain

Dennis Brain (19211957) was a British virtuoso horn player and was largely responsible for popularizing the horn as a solo classical instrument with the post-war British public. With Herbert von Karajan and the Philharmonia Orchestra he made what many still consider the definitive recordings of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's horn concerti. Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses, see Virtuoso (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Horn. ... Herbert von Karajan (April 5, 1908 – July 16, 1989) was an Austrian conductor. ... The Philharmonia is an orchestra based in London. ... “Mozart” redirects here. ...


Brain is generally recognised as the greatest exponent of the horn in living memory.

Contents

A family tradition

Dennis Brain was born in London into a family already well known for producing fine horn players. Image File history File links Brainfamily. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


His grandfather, Alfred Edwin Brain sr. (1860-02-04 - 1925-10-25), was considered one of the top horn soloists of his time. 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... is the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


His uncle, Alfred Edwin Brain jr. (1885-10-24 - 1966-03-29), had a successful career playing horn in the United States with the New York Symphony Society and later as a soloist in Hollywood. 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... is the 88th day of the year (89th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... The New York Philharmonic is the oldest active symphony orchestra in the United States, organized during 1842. ... ...


His father, Aubrey Brain (1893-07-12 - 1955-09-21), held the principal horn position in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was also a teacher. Aubrey Brain produced the first Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart horn concerto recording in 1927. Aubrey Brain (1893-1955) was a British horn player, father of Dennis Brain. ... Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 193rd day of the year (194th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The BBC Symphony Orchestra is the principal orchestra of the British Broadcasting Corporation and one of the leading orchestras in Britain. ... “Mozart” redirects here. ... See also: 1926 in music, other events of 1927, 1928 in music and the list of years in music. Events January 8 - Alban Bergs Lyric Suite is premiered in Vienna July 1 - Béla Bartóks Piano Concerto No. ...


His mother, Marion Brain, was a composer and wrote cadenzas to the first and third Mozart horn concerti which her husband played. In music, a cadenza (Italian for cadence) is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a free rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display. ...


His brother, Leonard Brain (1915 - 1975) was an oboist and performed with Dennis in a wind quintet that Dennis formed. Tina Brain, one of Leonard's children (Dennis's niece), became a professional horn player. For other uses, see Oboe (disambiguation). ... A wind quintet, also sometimes known as a woodwind quintet, is a group of five wind players (most commonly flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon). ...


Brain married Yvonne Brain and had two children: Anthony Paul Brain and Sally Brain.


Musical career

Early years

Cover art for a biographical book written about Brain (this is his original Raoux horn)
Cover art for a biographical book written about Brain (this is his original Raoux horn)
Brain's Alexander single Bb horn, damaged in the crash and restored by Paxman, on display at the Royal Academy of Music.
Brain's Alexander single Bb horn, damaged in the crash and restored by Paxman, on display at the Royal Academy of Music.

At an early age, Brain was allowed to blow a few notes on his father's horn every Saturday morning. Aubrey Brain held the belief that students should not study the horn seriously until the latter teenage years, when the teeth and embouchure became fully developed. During these years, Brain studied piano and organ. It was not until the age of 15 that Dennis was to transfer from St Paul's School to the Royal Academy of Music to study horn, under his father's tutelage. While there, he continued his piano studies under Max Pirani and organ under G.D. Cunningham. He played on a French-style Raoux horn. Image File history File links Dennis2. ... Image File history File links Dennis2. ... Gebr. ... Paxman horns Paxman Musical Instruments is a British manufacturer of horns. ... The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) is a constituent college of the University of London, and is one of the worlds leading music institutions. ... The embouchure is the use of facial muscles and the shaping of the lips to the mouthpiece of a wind instrument. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... Organ in Katharinenkirche, Frankfurt am Main, Germany The organ is a keyboard instrument played using one or more manuals and a pedalboard. ... St Pauls School is/was the name of many schools, starting with St Pauls School in London, England, which was re-founded in 1509 to replace an earlier foundation of 1103. ... The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) is a constituent college of the University of London, and is one of the worlds leading music institutions. ...


Brain debuted in performance on October 6, 1938, playing second horn under his father with the Busch Chamber Players at the Queen's Hall. They performed Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. Brain's first recording was of Mozart's Divertimento in D Major K. 334 in February, 1939 with the Léner Quartet. Again, he played second under his father. is the 279th day of the year (280th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Queens Hall was a classical music concert hall in Central London, opened in 1893 but is best known for being where The Promenade Concerts were founded in 1895. ... “Bach” redirects here. ... Johann Sebastian Bach, c. ... See also: 1938 in music, other events of 1939, 1940 in music and the list of years in music. Events Publication of Music Here and Now, book by Ernst Krenek March 23 - Béla Bartóks Violin Concerto No. ...


At the age of 21, Brain was appointed to the first horn position in the National Symphony Orchestra. This tenure did not last long as he was soon conscripted into the armed forces with his brother in World War II. Both brothers joined the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. When the Royal Air Force Symphony Orchestra was formed Brain joined it. That ensemble went on a goodwill tour of the United States. During the tour, a number of orchestral conductors invited Brain to join their groups after the war, including Leopold Stokowski of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... RAF redirects here. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Leopold Stokowski (born Antoni StanisÅ‚aw BolesÅ‚awowicz April 18, 1882 in London, England, died September 13, 1977 in Nether Wallop, England) was the conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air. ... The Philadelphia Orchestra, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the Big Five symphony orchestras in the United States and usually considered among the finest in the world. ...


In 1943, Brain's solo career truly began when Benjamin Britten wrote his Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings for Peter Pears and Brain. See also: 1942 in music, other events of 1943, 1944 in music and the list of years in music. // Events January 1, 1943 - Frank Sinatra appears at The Paramount causing a mob scene of hysterical bobby-soxers to flood Times Square and blocking midtown New York City traffic for hours... Britten redirects here. ... The Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is a song cycle written in 1943 by the English composer Benjamin Britten, scored for tenor accompanied by a solo horn and a small string orchestra. ... Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears (June 22, 1910 – April 3, 1986) was an English tenor and life-long partner of the composer Benjamin Britten. ...


Brain originally played a French instrument, a Raoux piston-valve horn, similar to that used by his father. This type of instrument has a particularly fluid tone and a fine legato, but a less robust sound than the German-made instruments which were becoming common. In 1951 he switched to an Alexander single Bb instrument, complaining that "they want me to play the right notes all of the time!" The Alexander had a custom lead pipe which was narrower than the usual, and offered a sound which, if not comparable to the Raoux, at least gave a nod in the direction of the lighter French instrument. Gebr. ...


Later years

By 1945, Brain was the most sought-after horn player in England. He was 24 years old at the time. His father injured himself in a fall and lost much of his stamina to play. After the war, Walter Legge and Thomas Beecham founded the Philharmonia and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, respectively. Brain filled the position as principal horn in both. Along with Jack Brymer (clarinet), Gwydion Brooke (bassoon), Richard Walton (trumpet), Terence MacDonagh (oboe), and Gerald Jackson (flute), he was a member of the "Royal Family" of wind instrumentalists of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Later, he found that he did not have enough time to fill both positions and resigned from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Walter Legge (June 1, 1906 - March 22, 1979) was an influential British classical record producer, most notably for EMI. Legge first joined HMV in 1927 mainly to work for the editorial of the companys retailing magazine, but he caught the eye of another famous record producer, Fred Gaisberg, and... Thomas Beecham (April 29, 1879 - March 8, 1961) was a British conductor. ... The Philharmonia Orchestra is an orchestra based in London. ... The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is an English orchestra based in London. ... Jack Brymer OBE (27 January 1915 - 15 September 2003), born in South Shields, was a British clarinetist. ... Gwydion Brooke (1912-2005) was the principal bassoonist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a member of its “Royal Family” of wind instrumentalists, along with Jack Brymer (clarinet), Dennis Brain (horn), Richard Walton (trumpet), Terence MacDonagh (oboe), and Gerald Jackson (flute). ...


Expanding his interest in the neglected area of chamber music, Brain formed a wind quintet with his brother in 1946. This group eventually grew in size and toured in Germany, Italy and Austria. Brain also founded a trio with pianist Wilfrid Parry and violinist Jean Pougnet. The trio toured Scotland twice and made plans to tour Australia in the winter of 1957. Briefly, Brain put together a chamber ensemble consisting of his friends so that he could conduct music. Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. ... A wind quintet, also sometimes known as a woodwind quintet, is a group of five wind players (most commonly flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon). ... See also: 1945 in music, other events of 1946, 1947 in music and the list of years in music. // Events February 8 - Béla Bartóks Piano Concerto No. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... For the Anne Rice novel, see Violin (novel). ... This article is about the country. ... Dalida, awarded a gold record in 1957 // January 5 - Renato Carosone and his band start their American tour in Cuba. ...


In 1951, Brain switched to the German-style Alexander horn.


Under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, Brain performed the organ in a recording of the Easter hymn from Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana in July, 1954. Herbert von Karajan (April 5, 1908 – July 16, 1989) was an Austrian conductor. ... Pietro Mascagni (Livorno December 7, 1863 – Rome August 2, 1945) is one of the most important Italian opera composers of the turn of the 20th century. ... Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to a libretto by Targioni-Tozzetti and Menasci, adapted from a short story by Giovanni Verga. ... // Frank Sinatra wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in From Here to Eternity, 1953; resuscitating his singing career in the process Bing Crosby received a Best Actor nomination for his work in The Country Girl January 14 - First documented use of the abbreviated term Rock n Roll to...


Brain made a radio program entitled The Early Horn in 1955. In it, he emphasized the importance of the player over the instrument in the production of the perfect tone.


Showing off his humorous style, Brain performed a Leopold Mozart horn concerto on rubber hosepipes at a Gerard Hoffnung music festival in 1956, trimming the hose to length with garden secateurs to achieve the correct tuning. Leopold Mozart Johann Georg Leopold Mozart (November 14, 1719 – May 28, 1787) was a composer, music teacher and violinist. ... Gerard Hoffnung (1925-1959) was an artist and musician, best known for his humorous works. ...


Brain was notoriously careless, his instrument for many years was a French-made piston valve horn with an impressive array of dents, and Britten autographed one score "For Dennis - in case he loses the other one". But Sir Thomas Beecham described Brain as a "prodigy"[1] and Noël Goodin characterised him as "the genius who tamed the horn"; his old-fashioned and ill-treated instrument was the same as can be heard in many classic recordings of the time. Badly damaged in his fatal crash, it has since been restored by Paxmans of London and is on public display in the Royal Academy of Music's free museum. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) is a constituent college of the University of London, and is one of the worlds leading music institutions. ...


A horn literature renaissance

New works and commemorations

Composer-performer collaborations have often been successful vehicles in advancing music. Brain often asked prolific composers to write new works for him to perform. Many composers offered their services to Brain without even being asked. Among them were Benjamin Britten (Serenade for Tenor and Horn, Canticle III), Malcolm Arnold (Horn Concerto No. 2), Paul Hindemith (Concerto for Horn and Orchestra), York Bowen (Concerto for Horn, Strings and Timpani), Peter Racine Fricker (Horn Sonata), Gordon Jacob (Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra), Mátyás Seiber (Notturno for Horn and Strings), Humphrey Searle (Aubade for Horn and Strings), Ernest Tomlinson (Rhapsody and Rondo for Horn and Orchestra, Romance and Rondo for Horn and Orchestra), Lennox Berkeley (Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano) and Elisabeth Lutyens. Britten redirects here. ... Sir Malcolm Arnold Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. ... Paul Hindemith aged 28. ... Edwin York Bowen (1884-1961) was an English classical composer and musician (pianist). ... Peter Racine Fricker (September 5, 1920 - February 1, 1990) was a British composer who lived in the United States for the last thirty years of his life. ... Gordon Percival Septimus Jacob (July 5, 1895 – June 8, 1984) was an English composer. ... Mátyás Seiber (May 4, 1905 – September 24, 1960) was a Hungarian-born composer who lived in England from 1935 onward. ... Humphrey Searle (August 26, 1915 - May 12, 1982) was a British composer. ... Ernest Tomlinson (born September 19, 1924) is an English composer, particularly noted for his Light music compositions. ... Sir Lennox Berkeley (May 12, 1903 - December 26, 1989) was a British composer. ... (Agnes) Elisabeth Lutyens, CBE (July 9, 1906–April 14, 1983) was an English composer, one of the five children of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. ...


Francis Poulenc wrote Elegie for Horn and Piano to commemorate Brain's death. It was premiered on September 1, 1958, exactly one year after his death, by Neill Sanders and with Poulenc himself on piano. Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (IPA: ) (January 7, 1899 - January 30, 1963) was a French composer and a member of the French group Les Six. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jan. ...


To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death a new work, Fanfare: a salute to Dennis Brain was commissioned from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and premiered in Nottingham on 15 March, 2007 by Michael Thompson. Fifty horn players subscribed fifty pounds each towards this commission, underwritten by Windblowers of Nottingham. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE (b. ... Michael Thompson is a British horn player and conductor. ...


Literary resurrections

Brain collaborated with Karajan to produce recordings of the four Mozart horn concerti, works now considered to be the basis of the solo horn repertory. The concerti were originally written for Joseph Leutgeb, a Salzburg natural horn player. Evidence of Brain's skill at composition was shown when he composed the cadenzas for the first and third concerti for his recordings. Joseph (Ignaz) Leutgeb (or Leitgeb) (October 8, 1732 - February 27, 1811) was an outstanding horn player of the classical era, a friend and musical inspiration for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. ... This article is about the capital of the Austrian state of Salzburg. ... The musical instrument natural horn is the ancestor of the modern-day French horn differentiated by its lack of valves. ...


Brain also popularized the two Richard Strauss horn concerti. He was the second to perform the Horn Concerto No. 2 publicly in 1948. This article is about the German composer of tone-poems and operas. ...


In 1951, Brain became the first person to perform Joseph Haydn's Horn Concerto No. 1 in modern times. “Haydn” redirects here. ...


A premature end

Brain's grave in London

On September 1, 1957, Brain was driving home to London after performing at the Edinburgh Festival with his wind quintet when he was killed in a car accident near Barnet in his Triumph TR2 sports car. Brain was a noted enthusiast of fast cars and was known for keeping Autocar magazine on his stand as he played the Mozart concertos from memory during recording sessions. He was 36 years old at the time of his death. Brain was interred at Hampstead Cemetery in London. Image File history File links Dennisbraingrave. ... Image File history File links Dennisbraingrave. ... Ancient unreadable gravestones mark the position of graves in the parish churchyard at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England A grave is a place where the body of a dead animal, generally human, is buried, often after a funeral. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... There is no one Edinburgh Festival but those using the term are usually referring to the collection of various festivals in August and early September of each year in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... High Barnet or Chipping Barnet is a town in the London Borough of Barnet. ... The Triumph TR2 was built between 1953 and 1955 by the Triumph Motor Company in the United Kingdom, during which time 8,636[1] cars were produced. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Autocar is a weekly British automobile magazine published by Haymarket Magazines Limited. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


His headstone reads a passage from Hindemith's Declamation section from his horn concerto [2]:

My call transforms
The hall to autumn
       tinted groves
What is into what
Has been.

Legacy

The beauty of Brain's music and the tragedy of his death captured the public imagination like no British horn player before or since. Horn players in general do not have the profile of the great violinists although the principal horn is generally paid second only to the leader of an orchestra, the horn being nefariously difficult to play. Giovanni Punto inspired Beethoven to write for horn, Brain inspired Britten, Arnold and Tippett. He popularised the classical horn repertoire and his brief career coincided with a renaissance of English classical performance and composition; like his contemporary James Galway he made the transition from orchestra to soloist, and his untimely death further boosted his status as a musical legend. Recordings from the 1950s are still available and many still consider the Brain / Karajan recordings of the Mozart horn concerti as definitive. Giovanni Punto (born Jan Václav Stich) (1746-1803) was a horn player (more correctly, he played the cor basse) and a pioneer of the hand stopping technique which allows natural horns to play fully chromatic music. ... Sir Michael Kemp Tippett, OM (2 January 1905 – 8 January 1998) was one of the foremost English composers of the 20th century. ... James Galway and his golden flute Sir James Galway (born December 8, 1939) is a Northern Ireland-born virtuoso flutist from Belfast, often called The Man With the Golden Flute. ... Herbert von Karajan (April 5, 1908 – July 16, 1989) was an Austrian conductor. ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) was one of the most significant and influential of all composers of Western classical music. ...


Brain was both a great horn player and a figure in popular culture, from his recordings of the Mozart concerti to his ridiculous playing of the hosepipe (perfectly in pitch) in one of Gerard Hoffnung's surreal musical extravaganzas. His Mozart recordings inspired Flanders and Swann's Ill Wind and his classical playing inspired a generation and more of horn players. Gerard Hoffnung (1925-1959) was an artist and musician, best known for his humorous works. ... Michael Flanders Donald Swann The British duo Flanders and Swann were the actor and singer Michael Flanders (1922–1975) and the composer, pianist and linguist Donald Swann (1923–1994) who collaborated in writing comic songs. ...


External links

  • The Legacy of Dennis Brain (www.dennisbrain.com)
  • Discography
  • Photo

References

  1. ^ Harold Rutland, Musical Times, 1957
  2. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=CpPXQI9LexkC&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=%22my+call+transforms%22&source=web&ots=x7lP5FOQDF&sig=f6dmfwYfZyTT6gAGdhAF4G86Y-A

  Results from FactBites:
 
Dennis Brain (1644 words)
Dennis showed an interest in his father's instrument from the age of three, but was allowed to play a few notes only on Saturday mornings as a treat.
Brain also had a fine talent for composition, as evidenced by the cadenzas to the fist movements of the third and fourth concertos.
Dennis was truly a colleague of the horn world and the music world in general; he was one of the very best ambassadors for our profession; when he toured with the London Symphony he always took time to visit with other hornists and musicians
MSN Encarta - Romania (1012 words)
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