Works by Beethoven, Jacob, Hindemith & Vinter

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COMPOSERS: Hindemith & Vinter,Jacob,Works by Beethoven
LABELS: BBC Legends
ALBUM TITLE: Dennis Brain
WORKS: Quintet for Piano and Wind in E flat, Op. 16
PERFORMER: Dennis Brain, Leonard Brain (horn), Stephen Winters (clarinet), Cecil James (bassoon) George Malcolm, Benjamin Britten, Noel Mewton-Wood (piano); Dennis Brain Wind Quintet; BBC Concert Orchestra/Vilem Tausky
CATALOGUE NO: BBCL 4164-2
Though this disc is called simply ‘brain,’ and the great horn player is the only person who appears in all four works on it, it is most impressive as a series of examples

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of teamwork.

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The first piece, Beethoven’s exuberant Quintet for Piano and Wind in E flat, Op. 16, comes from a recital at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1955; with Benjamin Britten, not normally sympathetic to Beethoven, here a wonderfully sensitive and alert pianist, we hear the four distinguished wind players taking their lead from him, Dennis Brain playing especially ravishingly in the slow movement. In the French-style Gordon Jacob Sextet, it’s the wind players who give George Malcolm, familiar on the harpsichord but here making a rare appearance on the piano, his cues. With Hindemith’s characteristically busy, not to say industrious Horn Sonata, Brain and Noel Mewton-Wood are very much equal partners, and in the brief lush Vinter Hunter’s Moon the orchestra provides a technicolour backdrop for Brain’s cavalier and almost insolently brilliant display. These are all vintage performances of works which are not deep, but expert specimens of high-spirited entertainment, and at times in the Beethoven a good deal more than that. Michael Tanner