Rare Dennis Brain Performance and Interview

It’s been awhile since I posted on classic LPs, but recently I came across a trove of rare and unusual records in our music library. I’m making my way through them slowly, but one that caught my eye right away was this 1979 Arabesque Records album called “Unreleased Performances of Dennis Brain” (AR 8071).  According to the record jacket, “All the music on this record is from the recital given by the Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble at the Freemasons Hall on Aug. 24, 1957,” one of the last performances Brain gave before his tragic death.  Works on the album include La Basque by Marin Marais and Dialogue No. 4 for Wind Quintet by Gian F. Malipiero, as well as Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat for Piano and Winds, Op. 16 and Villanelle by Paul Dukas.  In addition, the record includes interviews with Brain and various colleagues, and an excerpt from a lecture-recital featuring Brain and Neill Sanders.  To my knowledge, these recordings – and especially the interviews – have not been re-released, and are unique to this album.  If you can’t find this album at a used record store or online, don’t despair as there are numerous CD versions of other classic recordings by Brain, including this very nice box set.  This is a special year for Dennis Brain’s legacy, as the 43rd International Horn Symposium will be featuring several presentations related to his life and career.  Among these are a lecture recital by John Ericson titled “A Horn like Dennis Brain Played,” and a presentation by William Lynch, one of the authors of the recently published biography Dennis Brain: A Life in Music.  In closing I’ll leave you with two short snippets from the LP, which I’ve transferred over to digital format.  The first is Brain performing  La Basque by Marin Marais (his signature encore), with Wilfrid Parry on piano, and the second is Brain being interviewed by Roy Plomley on August 13, 1956 for the BBC radio program Desert Island Discs.

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This great stuff. Thank you. Any chance we could dig into Alan Civil and Aubrey Brain in the future?
As ever,



We have so much little things about Dennis Brain, that every seed is very precious. We know that it was too long ago that he was gone, but if not, of course we could have much more from Dennis.
Thanks James for your contribution, and congratulations for the blog.



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