Music & Conversation: The Podcast of English Composer Andrew Downes

Around the Horn by Frank Downes: Chapter 5

November 26, 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 5 tells of Frank's fascinating adventures with the RAF Central Band, as well as memories of the amazing horn playing of Dennis Brain. At the end of this episode, Andrew Downes' Concerto for Four Horns and Symphony Orchestra, 1st movement is played since many of the works mentioned in this chapter are horn concertos, and Frank was present at the premiere. The recording comes from the radio broadcast by the horns of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, for whom the work was written, with the Czech Radio Orchestra in 2003. The full work can be heard at

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