Richard Blackford



a new Lyrita
Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Nimbus on-line




Piano Trios
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider


Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra


British composers

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo


Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons


Verdi Requiem


RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Dvorak Opera Premiere
BEST SELLER


Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas



alternatively AmazonUK

 

 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Concertos for Horn and Orchestraa – No. 1 in D, K386b (1791?) [8:16]; No. 2 in E flat, K417 (1783) [13:44]; No. 3 in E flat, K447 (1784-87) [15:53]; No. 4 in E flat, K495 (1786) [16:05]. Quintet for Piano and wind Instruments, K452b (1784) [21:30].
aDennis Brain (horn);
bWalter Gieseking (piano); aPhilharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan; bPhilharmonia Wind Ensemble (Sidney Sutcliffe (oboe); Bernard Walton (clarinet); Dennis Brain (horn); Cecil James, (bassoon))
rec. aKingsway Hall, London, 12-13, 23 November 1953; bEMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London, 15 April 1955. ADD
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111070 [75:16]

 


Recently, I reviewed Claire Briggs' generally routine take on Mozart's 'famous four'. There is nothing of the routine whatsoever about Brain's famous recordings. I lived with the LP of these concertos for many years: ASD1140 was the particular incarnation, although they existed originally on a Columbia 33CX. Malcolm Walker, who writes the perceptive notes for the current issue, avers that this 1953 version of the concerto, “continues to be the yardstick by which all subsequent versions are measured”. How right he is. There is a freshness of spirit here that makes one wonder if there are not parallels to be made between Brain and Mozart himself – both died young, leaving a legacy that is at once as individual as it is unassailable. Brain's greatest achievement was that he plays as if the horn is not a difficult instrument. It is simply the medium through which he interprets this music; and these interpretations are of the highest possible standard.

Karajan's accompaniment is made of pure gold. The Philharmonia plays like a group of descended gods for him, and there is none of the streamlined phrasings of the later years. Yet it is to Brain that the ear always returns, and always gratefully. Not a single phrase has even the slightest ungainly bump; tonguing is light yet defined; slow movements possess the most silken legato. It is well nigh impossible to select isolated moments, for this is as near to flawless horn playing as we can expect this side of the veil. 

Mark Obert-Thorn's restoration is of the highest possible standard. If there is still a little distancing of the orchestra's wind instruments, this remains the clearest sound I have heard for these accounts. Magnificent. 

The Briggs disc added a Haydn Trumpet Concerto that actually overshadowed her own contribution. No-one could surely ever overshadow Brain in musicianship, and so it is that Walter Gieseking emerges more as Brain's complement. Despite the later recording date by two years, the sound of the Quintet is a little less focused. It is biased towards Gieseking's piano. Yet there is a huge amount of delight to be had here as - so it sounds -  a group of friends make the most heavenly chamber music, just for us, the listeners at home. Dialogues are a joy, both between piano and ensemble and within the wind ensemble itself. The slow movement flows with preternaturally perfect ease. Just listen to Brain's solo at 2:53ff – how many horn players today can deliver such delicious grace? 

This disc is pure joy. At the price, it is almost a crime not to snap it up.

Colin Clarke

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Prima voce
Red Priest
Redcliffe
Retrospective
Sheva
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb
Classical Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.