Aubrey Brain

Aubrey Brain (1893-1955) was appointed as first horn of the New Symphony Orchestra in 1911. He was just 18 years old. Where there are important solo passages, it is likely that he features on numerous recordings by the orchestra (later the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra), though he generally goes uncredited. He was later first horn of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, from its founding through to 1945. He was principal horn of the Royal Philharmonic Society from 1922 to 1930, and also played with the LSO and Philharmonia.

Brain contributed to the Nocturne from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on several recordings. On the two given below he is named on the label. One is the early electrical recording with Landon Ronald, and another from the early 1930s with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

A wealth of information about Aubrey Brain can be found at Stephen Gamble’s website.

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Nocturne
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald
Aubrey Brain, horn
His Master’s Voice D 1034
Matrices Cc 6411-V, 6412-II (4-0132/3)
Recorded 9th September 1925, 27th July 1925
Mozart – Horn Concerto No.2 in E flat major K417
I. Allegro maestoso (abridged)
II. Andante
III. Rondo
Glazunov – Rêverie for Horn and Piano in Db major Op.24
Aubrey Brain, horn
Royal Symphony Orchestra, Joseph Batten
Marion Brain, piano (Glazunov)
Edison Bell Electron X508-9
Matrices X1679J-3, X1680D-5, X1681Z-5, X1684J-1
Recorded c1926

The first movement of the Mozart is heavily cut, losing 81 of its 190 bars. Those remaining are:
Bars 1-9, 25-62, 83-116, 163-190(end)
The other movements are uncut.

Conductor Joseph Batten is not named on the labels. In the Glazunov item, Aubrey Brain is accompanied by his wife Marion.

All sides play begin at about 82.7rpm, rising to about 84.3rpm (except for the Glazunov which maintains pitch.)

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Nocturne
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Boult
Aubrey Brain, horn
His Master’s Voice DA 1318
Matrices 0B 4168-II, 4169-I (30-10615/6)
Recorded 6th April 1933

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