Aubrey Brain

Aubrey Brain Aubrey Brain (1893 – 1955) made his Proms solo debut in 1923 playing Mozart’s Second Concerto. A few years later, in 1927 he chose it again for what is considered to be the first recording of a horn concerto. The Royal Symphony Orchestra was the name given to the house orchestra of Edison Bell records. In order to record each movement on one 78 rpm side, the first movement was heavily cut. The fourth side of the two disc set was filled out with Glazunov’s Reverie accompanied by his wife, Marion.

Brain made two recordings of the Horn Trio by Brahms. This one dates from 1926. Violinist Spencer Dyke, like Brain was a professor the Royal Academy of Music. York Bowen was a multi-talented musician who, in addition to being a pianist and compose, had been a horn player with Aubrey Brain in the Welsh Guards Regimental Band during WWI. This acoustical recording has less than ideal balances. The 1934 electrical recording of the Brahms with violinist Adolf Busch and pianist Rudolf Serkin in is one of the classic chamber music performances and has remained available almost continuously in various formats including CD.

Adolf Busch (1891-1952) was one of the founders of the Marlboro (VT) school and festival. In 1935 he organized the Adolf Busch Chamber Orchestra to perform and record all of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti years before they became popular on concert programs and recordings. Second horn was Francis Bradley (son of Aubrey’s teacher, Adolf Borsdorf) who retired in 1975 as principal horn of the English National Opera.

Aubrey Brain played a Labbaye-Raoux mostly with an F crook. According to Farquharson Cousins, he used the B-flat crook for the Brandenburg Concerto and Francis Bradley switched between F and B-flat crooks according to the demands of the different 78 rpm sides. Brain is also said to have used the B-flat crook for the last movement of the Brahms.

The 78 rpm discs were first cleaned and then played back using a Shure cartridge with N78s stylus. The LP was cleaned on a Keith Monks Mk II record cleaning machine and played back on a Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Linn Ittok arm and Monster Alpha Genesis 2000 moving coil cartridge. An Audio Research SP11 tube preamplifier was connected to a custom built PC using Diamond Cut software in the digital conversion and restoration.

Aubrey Brain Audio CD

$15.00

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Aubrey Brain Downloadable MP3 Album

$10.00

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01 Bach Brandenburg Conc 1 Allegro

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02 Bach Brandenburg Conc 1 Adagio

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03 Bach Brandenburg Conc 1 Allegro

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04 Bach Brandenburg Conc 1 Minuetto

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05 Mozart Conc 2 Allegro Maestoso

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06 Mozart Conc 2 Andante

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07 Mozart Conc 2 Rondo

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08 Glazunov Reverie Op 24

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09 Brahms Horn Trio Andante

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10 Brahms Horn Trio Scherzo

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11 Brahms Horn Trio Adagio Mesto

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12 Brahms Horn Trio Allegro Con Brio

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