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Aubrey Brain: Solo and Chamber Works




Mozart: Horn Concerto No.2 in E flat K.417. With The Royal Symphony Orchestra/ Joseph Batten. Edison Bell (Electron), X 508/9. 1927*. LP issue: Pearl Opal 805 (1982); CD issue: Sotone Historic Recordings CD 104.

X508     x1679J     1st movt: Allegro maestoso                                                            1927

              x1680b     2nd movt: Andante                                                                         1927

X509     x1681g     3rd movt: Rondo                                                                            1927

          Side filler: Glazounov (see below)


* The year of the recording was 1927 and it was reviewed in March 1928 in The Dominant.  The following extract from a 1927 article by Arthur Payne also suggests a 1927 date:


Since commencing this article the records of the Mozart Concerto have arrived and I have just played them to acquaint myself more with my subject.  No doubt they are most beautifully played and trills and florid passages (in the true Mozartian style) are executed with an ease and grace I would not have thought possible.


Alan Civil in his sleeve notes to the LP, Opal 805 (1982) also mentions 1927 as the year the recording was made.


The timing problems of recording the Mozart necessitated drastic cuts in the first (Allegro maestoso) movement, but these were arranged by the manager, Joseph Batten, who conducted a freelance orchestra with the grandiose appellation of the “Royal Symphony Orchestra”. Alfred Cursue, horn player and recently appointed Professor of Horn at the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, took part in the assembled orchestra as first horn, and he has informed me that the four sides were recorded in two hours.



Anon, review in The Dominant, March 1928, “Another record which shows the present tendency to extend the repertoire is that of Mozart’s Second concerto for horn and orchestra with Aubrey Brain as soloist.”

Payne, Arthur C., Stars of the Record World, Mr Aubrey Brain in Gramophone And Talking Machine News, vol. xix, no.443 B, Sep. 1927, p.291 (Hereafter Payne, 1927).

Civil, Alan, sleeve notes to LP, Aubrey Brain, Opal 805, (1982).  This also gives 1927 as the year of the recording and the same year for the Glazunov Reverie.

Stephen Pettitt, Dennis Brain a biography, London, Robert Hale, 2nd edition, 1989, p.44; Appendix III, pp.188-89 (Hereafter, Pettitt, 1989)

McBeth, Amy, A discography of 78 rpm era recordings of the horn. Solo and Chamber Literature with Commentary – Discographies no.74. Westport, Greenwood Press, Connecticut, 1997, p.47 (Hereafter, McBeth, 1997)  She gives 1927 as the year of the recording.

Ovitsky, Steven, CD notes, Sotone CD 104. Steven Ovitsky gives 1927 as the year in the notes to his CD “Great Horn Players In Historic Recordings Aubrey Brain” (Sotone 104)


Mozart: Horn Concerto No.3 in E flat K.447. With BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Adrian Boult. DB 3973-4. Issues (America) Victor Set DM829, issues 13784/5; matrix nos. 2EA8663-3; 2EA8664-1; 2EA86652; 2EA8666-2.  N.B. a different take was used by Victor for the second movement (2EA8666-2).  In the HMV issue, the take was 2EA8665-1. CD issue: EMI Classics: Great Recordings of the Century. Dennis and Aubrey Brain: EMI CDH 7 64198 2 (1992); Pearl GEM 0183; Colston Hall, Bristol, 10 April 1940.*

DB 3973     2EA 8663-3    Part 1  1st movt. Allegro                                     10 April 1940

                   2EA 8664-1     Part 2  1st  movt. (Cadenza: Marion Brain)        10 April 1940

DB 3974     2EA 8665-1                2nd  movt. Romance (Larghetto)             10 April 1940

                    2EA 8666-2               3rd movt.  Allegro                                    10 April 1940


* McBeth, 1997, p.48 gives 10 April 1940 and this agrees with EMI’s first 1992 CD issue (EMI CDH 7 64198 2).  See also McBeth, op.cit., ibid., for the different “take” of the second movement that features on the Victor set.  She also lists another later Victor issue on M829 (issues 13782/3) and an LP issue – LM6130.



Pettitt, 1989, p.66; Appendix III, pp.188-89

McNaught, W. review in Musical Times vol.81, no.1171, Sep. 1940, p.372. Cited by McBeth, 1997, p.48

Walker, Malcolm, CD booklet Great Recordings Of The Century Dennis and Aubrey Brain EMI CDH 7 64198 2. McBeth, Amy, 1997, pp.48-49

HMV Supplement August 1940
HMV DB 3973-4


With Piano


Glazunov: Reverie for horn and piano Op.24. With Marion Brain (piano). Edison Bell (Electron), X 509. LP issue: Opal 805 (1982). CD issue: Sotone Historic Recordings CD 104. 1927.

X509     xl684P                                                                                          Recorded 1927*

This recording is a side filler to the abridged set of Mozart: Concerto K.417 (see above)


* McBeth, p.38, gives 1926 but see date of K.417



Pettitt, 1989, p.44, Appendix III, pp.188-89

McBeth, 1997, p.38

Payne, 1927, p.291 who states: “There is a poetical feeling about the Reverie which seems to suit the instrument and allow its expressive notes their full play and powers of expression.  This likewise is played in the manner of a real artist and the fine piano accompaniment is supplied by Mrs. Aubrey Brain.” Payne goes on to describe how Aubrey met Marion when she was a famous contralto called Marion Beeley, working for Sir Thomas Beecham.  For photographs of Marion and her press notices, see her separate pages on this website. She continued to use Beeley as her stage name after she married. Author’s collection.


Instruments Of The Orchestra


3199  (Columbia)  Schubert: Ave Maria  n.d.*

                              Beethoven: Symphony no.5 (excerpt)    n.d.


* The issue date of this recording was April 1923



Pettitt, 1989, pp.188-89

McBeth, 1997, p.122, 128-129


Chamber Music


Beethoven: Rondino in E flat major for two oboes, two clarinets, two horns and two bassoons, Op.Posth. Wo025.  Members of the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, conducted by Sir Henry Wood.  According to Jacobs (1994, p.76), Wood was fond of programming it.  Although Aubrey is not named, he was at that time principal horn of the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra.

L1515     AX5-2    Rondino                                                                            16 May 1923


N.B. the other side has no horn part (Bach Gavotte in E major)



Jacobs, Arthur,  Henry J. Wood, Maker Of The Proms, London, Methuen, 1994, pp.76, 254, 258, 428

Taylor, Ronald, Columbia Twelve-Inch Records in the United Kingdom 1906-1930 A Discography. Symposium Records 1994, p.138 (Hereafter, Taylor, 1994)


Beethoven: Septet in E flat Op.20 Léner Quartet: Jenö Léner (1st violin), Joseph Smilovits (2nd violin), Sandor Roth (viola), Imre Hartman (cello); Claude Hobday (double bass), Charles Draper (clarinet), E.W. Hinchcliff (bassoon).

LX109     WAX5432         Part 1  1st movt. Adagio – Allegro con brio        4 March 1930

                WAX5433-1      Part 2  1st movt.                                                   4 March 1930

LX110     WAX5434-2      Part 1  2nd movt. Adagio cantabile                     4 March 1930

                WAX5435-2      Part 2  2nd movt.                                                  4 March 1930

LX111     WAX5436-2                 3rd movt: Tempo di minuetto                   4 March 1930

                WAX5437-2       Part 1  4th movt. Tema con variazioni: Andante

                                                                                                                       4 March 1930

LX112     WAX5438         Part 2  4th movt.                                                  4 March 1930

                WAX5439                     5th movt. Scherzo: Allegro molto e vivace

                                                                                                                       4 March 1930

LX113     WAX5440-1      Part 1  6th movt. Andante con moto alla Marcia

 – Presto                                    4 March 1930

                WAX5441-1      Part 2  6th movt.                                                  4 March 1930



Pettitt, 1989, p.52, pp.188-89, who gives the date, 4 March 1930.

McBeth, 1997, p.85, who also gives (op.cit., ibid.) American Columbia Set 180, issues 68096D/100D

“Discus”, review in Musical Times vol.72, no.1058, April 1 1931, p.331.  Cited by McBeth, 1997, p.85

Weaver, Paul J., review in Music Supervisors’ Journal vol.20, no.4 (March 1934), pp.66-69.  This reviews the American Columbia set 180 issue.


Mozart: Divertimento in D K.334. With Dennis Brain (2nd horn), Léner Quartet: Jenö Léner (1st violin), Joseph Smilovits (2nd violin), Sandor Roth (viola), Imre Hartman (cello). CD issues: Great Recordings of The Century. EMI CDH 7 64198 2 (1992); Grammofono “Dennis Brain The Horn of the Century”. AB 78 881 (1998).

LX841     CAX8451-1     Part 1  1st movt. Allegro                                         16 Feb. 1939

                CAX8452-1     Part 2  1st movt.                                                      16 Feb. 1939

LX842     CAX8453-1     Part 1  2nd  movt. Thema (Andante)

mit sechs Variationen                 16 Feb. 1939                 

                CAX8454-1     Part 2  2nd movt.                                                     16 Feb. 1939

LX843     CAX8455-4                3rd movt. Menuetto & Trio                          16 Feb. 1939

                CAX8456-1     Part 1  4th movt. Adagio                                         16 Feb. 1939

LX844     CAX8457-2     Part 2  4th movt (conclusion)

                                                    5th movt. Menuetto                                      16 Feb. 1939

                CAX8458-1                5th movt. Trios 1 & 2 (Menuetto da Capo)  16 Feb. 1939

LX845     CAX8459-1     Part 1  6th movt. Rondo (Allegro)                          16 Feb. 1939

                CAX8460-1     Part 2  6th movt.                                                      16 Feb. 1939



Pettitt, 1989, p.61, pp.188-9, p.195.  Although he suggests the recording date is 23 February 1939 (p.61), this date does not appear in Pettitt, op.cit., Appendix III.  The date there in two places (for Aubrey and Dennis Brain discographies) is 16 February 1939.

McBeth, 1997, p.100.  McBeth also gives American Columbia Set M379, issues 69694D/8D. The matrix numbers she gives agree with those on the original issue LX841-45.


Mozart: Quintet in E flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon K.452. With Kathleen Long (piano), Léon Goossens (oboe), Frederick Thurston (clarinet), John Alexandra (bassoon). National Gramophonic Society, no.121-3. 19 March 1928.

No.121   14-N-4  121 +  Part 1  1st movt. Largo – Allegro moderato         19 March 1928

               14-N-4  121 –  Part 2  1st movt.                                                    19 March 1928

No.122   14-N-5  122 +  Part 1  2nd movt. Larghetto                                  19 March 1928

               14 N-5  122 – Part 2  2nd movt.                                                     19 March 1928

No.123   14-N-6  123 + Part 1  3rd movt. Rondo (Allegretto)                     19 March 1928

               14-N-6  123 – Part 2  3rd movt.                                                     19 March 1928



Pettitt, 1989, p.52, pp.188-89

McBeth, 1997, p.102

“Discus” review in Musical Times vol.70, no.1035, 1 May 1929, p.425. Cited by McBeth, 1997, p.102


Schubert: Octet in F Op.166, D.803.  With Léner Quartet: Jenö Léner (1st violin), Joseph Smilovits (2nd violin), Sandor Roth (viola), Imre Hartman (cello), Charles Draper (clarinet), Ernest W. Hinchcliff (bassoon), Claude Hobday (double bass). CD issue: Léner Quartet Vol.3: Schubert & Schumann recordings 1928-1936. Rockport Records RR 5008 (1st issued 1999, issued 18 January 2000, limited edition); Shinseido Toshiba EMI SGR-8209 (CD mono), 1997, Japan; Andante 699487101029 (2003).  Columbia Studios, Petty France, London 23 February 1928

L2108     WAX3416-1     Part 1  1st movt. Adagio – Allegro                         23 Feb. 1928

               WAX3417         Part 2  1st movt.                                                      23 Feb. 1928

L2109     WAX3418-2     Part 3  1st movt.                                                      23 Feb. 1928

               WAX3419-2     Part 1  2nd movt. Adagio                                         23 Feb. 1928

L2110     WAX3420-1     Part 2  2nd movt.                                                     23 Feb. 1928

               WAX3421-2     Part 3  2nd movt.                                                     23 Feb. 1928

L2111     WAX3422-2     3rd movt.  Scherzo (Allegro vivace) & Trio           23 Feb. 1928

               WAX3423-2      Part 1  4th movt. Andante                                      23 Feb. 1928

L2112     WAX3424-1      Part 2  4th movt.                                                    23 Feb. 1928

               WAX3425-2                  5th movt. Menuetto (Allegretto) & Trio    23 Feb. 1928

L2113     WAX3426-2      Part 1  6th movt. Andante molto – Allegro           23 Feb. 1928

               WAX3427-2      Part 2  6th movt.                                                     23 Feb. 1928



“Discus” review in Musical Times vol.69, no.1025, 1 July 1928, p.615. Cited by McBeth, 1997, p.107

Pettitt, 1989, p.52, pp.188-89

Taylor, 1994, p.171

McBeth, 1997, pp.107-8, who gives American Columbia’s Set MM97, issues 72259D/64D.  The matrix numbers given by McBeth differ from the above matrix numbers and are as follows:-

First movt. part 1, WAX3416-1-B- ; first movt. part 2, WAX3417-1-B-; first movt. part 3, WAX3418-2-B-; second movt part 1, WAX3419-2-B-7; second movt part 2, WAX3420-1-B-; second movt part 3, WAX3421-2-B-;  third movt, WAX3422-2-B; fourth movt part 1,WAX3423-2-B-; fourth movt part 2, WAX3424-2-B-; fifth movt, WAX3425-2-B-3; sixth movt part 1, WAX3426-2-B; sixth movt part 2, WAX3427-2-B-




Brahms: Trio for Violin, horn and piano Op.40. With Spencer Dyke (violin), York Bowen (piano). National Gramophonic Society (NGS) no. 49-56 Recorded 1926. Issued on LP issue (1982) Pavillion Records Ltd: Pearl Opal 805. CD issue: Sotone Historic Recordings CD104. Movements: Andante; Scherzo; Adagio mesto; Finale: Allegro con brio. The recording that I have has the following numbers stamped on the eight sides.  Stephen Pettitt’s Dennis Brain (2nd edition, 1989, Appendix III, p.189) gives NGS 65-8 and a different year, 1925, although he elsewhere states 1926 (p.52). The NGS Catalogue for 1934 gives NGS 65-8 which must have been the same recording renumbered.

NGS 49 E    QQQ +    No.1     Andante                                                                 

NGS 50 E    QQQ –    No.2     Andante

NGS 51 EX  RRR +    No.3     Scherzo

NGS 52 E     RRR –    No.4     Scherzo

NGS 53 E     SSS +     No.5     Adagio mesto

NGS 54 E     SSS –     No.6     Adagio mesto

NGS 55 E     TTT +    No.7     Finale, Allegro con brio

NGS 56 E     TTT –     No.8     Finale, Allegro con brio



National Gramophonic Society Catalogue of Records 1934, London, Gramophone (Publications) Ltd., 10A Soho Square. Page 9 gives nos. 65-68 for the Brahms Trio set, not as printed and stamped on the set of records in my possession, nos. 49-56.

Civil, Alan, sleeve notes to LP Aubrey Brain. Opal 805 (1982). This gives 1926 as the date and NGS 49-56

Pettitt, 1989, p.52, pp.188-89

McBeth, 1997, p.89 who notes “I also find the following series of letters: QQQ+/-, RRR+/-, SSS+/, TTT+/-“

“Discus” review in Musical Times vol.68, no.1010, 1 April 1927, p.348. Cited by McBeth, 1997, p.89

Ovitsky, Steven, notes to his Sotone CD 104 “Great Horn Players In Historic Recordings Aubrey Brain.”  He gives 1926 as the year.


Brahms: Trio for Violin, horn and piano Op.40. With Adolph Busch (violin), Rudolf Serkin (piano). No.3 studio, Abbey Road 13 November 1933. DB 2105-2108; 2B 6708-6715. Originally issued only through HMV Records for the Connoisseur catalogue and not stocked by dealers. Album Series No.201; automatic couplings DB 7610-7613. LP issues:  COLH 41; EMI Références PM 322. CD: Testament SBT 1001 (April 1991); EMI Références CDH 7 64495 2  (released November 1992). Pearl GEM 0007 (15 May 1998).

DB 2105     2B6708-5     Part 1  1st movt. Andante                                       13 Nov. 1933

                   2B6709-4      Part 2  1st movt.                                                     13 Nov. 1933

DB 2106     2B6710-4      Part 1  2nd movt. Scherzo – Allegro                      13 Nov. 1933

                   2B6711-3      Part 2  2nd movt.                                                    13 Nov. 1933

DB 2107     2B6712-2      Part 1  3rd movt. Adagio mesto                             13 Nov. 1933

                   2B6713-3      Part 2  3rd movt.                                                     13 Nov. 1933

DB 2108     2B6714-2      Part 1  4th movt: Finale – Allegro con brio           13 Nov. 1933

                   2B6715-3      Part 2  4th movt. Conclusion                                  13 Nov. 1933



Pettitt, 1989, p.51, pp.188-89 who gives 13 November 1933 as the recording date. McBeth, 1997, p.89, gives 1934. McBeth, (op.cit., ibid.) also mentions Victor Set M199, issues 7965/73.


Brahms: Trio for Violin, horn and piano Op.40   Incomplete recording. With Adolph Busch (violin), Rudolf Serkin (piano).  Recorded 16 May 1933. CD first issue: Appian Publications And Recordings APR5528.  A record from the set was accidentally cracked at the factory and no other master existed so it was not released and the recording was later completely re-recorded (as above).  This CD includes sides from the other commercial recording with Busch and Serkin, to complete it and also for comparison.



Appiano Publications And Recordings. Web page:


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