Music & Conversation: The Podcast of English Composer Andrew Downes

Around the Horn by Frank Downes, Chapter 4

September 17, 2020

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 4 tells of Frank meeting his future wife, Iris; his successful audition for the RAF Central Band and adventures as a raw recruit including the forging of many longterm friendships with musicians such as Dennis Brain and Denis Matthews; his time studying with Frank Probyn at the Royal College of Music. At the end of this episode, Andrew Downes' Sonata for Four Horns, 1st movement is played to highlight the fact that Andrew followed in his father's footsteps by learning the French horn and by studying singing and composition at the Royal College of Music with Herbert Howells. The recording comes from the CD, Andrew Downes: Works for Horns and Wagner Tubas, decidated to the memory of Frank Downes.

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