Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble

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The Dennis Brain Wind Quintet and Ensemble were musicians who played chamber music concerts and recordings with Dennis Brain, one of the great horn players of music history. Dennis Brain (May 17, 1921-Sept.…
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The Dennis Brain Wind Quintet and Ensemble were musicians who played chamber music concerts and recordings with Dennis Brain, one of the great horn players of music history.

Dennis Brain (May 17, 1921-Sept. 1, 1957) was a son of Aubrey Brain (1893-1955), also a renowned horn player. Dennis began his professional career before graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 1939, having learned horn playing from his father and organ from G. D. Cunningham.

Legend has it that Dennis would have preferred to be an organist, and he definitely preferred chamber music to solo performing, and from his debut in 1938 he frequently played with the Lener, Griller, and Busch quartets. During World War II, he was a member of the RAF Central Band along with his older brother, Leonard Brain (1915-1975).

After the War, Dennis and Leonard became the nucleus of a wind quintet, to which other chamber players were added to provide a flexible ensemble that could, for instance, perform horn trios or quartets with Dennis. The organization was called the Dennis Brain Wind Quintet and Ensemble, and depending on the occasion, could be called the Dennis Brain Wind Quintet or the Dennis Brain Ensemble.

Both formations participated with Brain on some notable chamber music recordings and recorded BBC recital programs. The basic sound of both ensembles changed in 1951 when Dennis Brain switched from using a French-made horn to a German one.

The ensemble did not survive Brain's death in an automobile accident in 1957.