Music & Conversation: The Podcast of English Composer Andrew Downes

Around the Horn by Frank Downes: Chapter 12

October 4, 2021

Paula Downes reads her Grandfather and Andrew Downes' father Frank's book, Around the Horn, which tells the story of the Classical Music Industry from the point of view of a professional Horn player. Born 1921, died 2005, his fascinating orchestral career spanned the demise of the silent cinema, municipal seaside orchestras, the RAF Central band during World War II, orchestral playing in pre and post-war Britain, and the rise towards a Royal title for the Birmingham Conservatoire. Chapter 12 is about Frank's time in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Malcom Sargent and Adrian Boult, tours around the UK, the Isle of Man and Ireland. Since Frank ends this chapter with a tale of the horn section attempting to leave a concert as soon as it ended, not realising that Malcom Sargent was planning to conduct the Prelude to Act 3 of Wagner's Lohengrin as an encore, and therefore not being ready to play some prominent horn passages, Paula has chosen to end this episode with the last movement of Andrew Downes' Concerto for Four Horns and Symphony Orchestra, a work in which the horns are particularly prominent! This work was composed for the Horns of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in the Rudolfinum, Prague in 2002 and Frank attended the premiere. The recording is the same horn players (Radek Baborak, Stanislav Suchanek, Ondrej Vrabec, and Zdenek Divoky), with the Czech Radio Orchestra, which was broadcast on Czech Radio in March 2003.

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