Works by Beethoven, Jacob, Hindemith & Vinter

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COMPOSERS: Hindemith & Vinter,Jacob,Works by Beethoven
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
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


of teamwork.


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