Music & Conversation: The Podcast of English Composer Andrew Downes

Around the Horn by Frank Downes: Chapter 7

January 16, 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 7 tells of RAF Central Band Marches around  cities including Birmingham and Cardiff; of his wedding to Iris; and recounts Dennis Matthews' diary of events of his experiences of the RAF Central Band tour of America. At the end of the episode, the first movement of Andrew Downes' Sonata for 8 Horns is played since ithe premiere took place at the University of Mexico, near the route of the 40-hour train journey Dennis Matthews describes from Fort Worth, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona. The recording is of the Horns of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for the Artesmon Label. The full work can be heard at, where you can also purchase the CD and WAV files.

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