Dennis Brain – the Siegfried of the Horn

Dennis Brain, the much-loved horn player who died tragically in a motor accident 60 years ago on the morning of 1 September 1957, was a shining example of a quiet, unassuming but supremely gifted musician in a field populated by colourful characters many of whom lacked his modesty, reserve and gentle wit. In his all…

Into the Sunset: the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss

On the morning of 30 April 1945, the same day that Adolf Hitler committed suicide in an underground bunker in Berlin,  Major John Kramers of the US Army 103rd Infantry Division and his men called on the shuttered villa at Zöppritzstrasse 42 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps with a view to headquarter his men…

An Alpine Symphony

Shortly before the premiere in 1915 of his tone poem  Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Richard Strauss (1869 – 1949) quipped “Now at last I have learned to orchestrate!”

Transfigured Night

During his years of permanent exile in America, Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951) once remarked “There is nothing I long for more intensely than to be taken for a better sort of Tchaikovsky. People should know my tunes and whistle them”.

Béla Bartók, Out of Doors

Budapest – a fine city. Formerly a provincial backwater made up of three small towns (Buda, Pest and Obuda), at the turn of the 20th century it was Europe’s fastest growing metropolis and a symbol of Hungarian national pride, the population ballooning from around 300,000 in 1870 to over a million in 1910.