Dennis Brain in Concert
Quintet for Piano and Winds, opus 16
Le Basque (2)
Horn Quintet, K407 (3)
Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano, opus 40 (4)
Dennis Brain (horn)
Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble (1); Wilfird Parry (piano) (2); English String
Quartet (3); Max Salpeter (violin), Cyril Preedy (piano) (4)
BBC Legends BBCL 4048-2
The BBC Legends series has certainly captured a legend on the top of his
form in these splendid performances. Dennis Brain became a legendary artist
while he was still in his twenties; alas he died at only 36. He was involved
in a car accident, probably falling asleep at the wheel, having reached north
London after driving home from an Edinburgh Festival concert.
Has the horn ever sounded better than this as a solo instrument? The rounded,
warm tone, the untroubled accuracy were certainly at their height when the
Beethoven, Dukas and Marais items were recorded at the Edinburgh Festival
The Mozart and Brahms performances were BBC studio recordings made earlier
that year. In both works Brain is magnificent, and in the Brahms the other
artists at the top of their form too. The English String Quartet are not
consistently polished in the Mozart, though their support is perfectly adequate.
But the Brahms Trio is treated to a very special performance, and alone is
worth the price of the disc. The sound is mono but it is clear and atmospheric.