Scope and Contents of Collection
Title: William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection
Dates: circa 1921-2012
Collection number: ARS.0138
Lynch, William C., 1943-
[5.75 linear feet]
Collection size summary: 12 boxes : Approximately 122 non-commercial compact discs, averaging four separate works per disc; 49 LP recordings; 12 78rpm
recording; 33 commercially released compact disc recordings in addition to a special commercially released EMI Classics collection
consisting of 58 analog cassette tape recordings; a 13 compact disc special collection retailed in Japan only containing rare
works; 5 commercial and non-commercial compact disc recordings of Kaoru Chiba (1928-2008), Dennis Brain’s most prominent student;
4 photographs contributed by Ms. Mako Rova from the United States who attended Kaoru Chiba’s Celebration of Life in Japan
at noon, June 28, 2008 at Blue Rose (Small Hall) in Suntory Hall, Minato-ku, Tokyo; 6 books of historical interest pertaining
to the “Brain” era complementing the current inventory at the Stanford Library; sheet music in part consisting of rare works
performed by Dennis Brain, some of which are no longer obtainable; a photo catalog consisting of numerous commercially licensed
photos and non-commercially released photos of Brain including his very early years and while on US tour; research notes from
numerous publications about Brain including critic reviews and those from conductors and composers with whom he worked; correspondences
and notes pertaining to the Sotheby's auction of Brain's Music Library; a VHS recording showing Brain performing the Beethoven
Sonata; a digital and a VHS recording of Brain appearing at the 1955 Edinburgh Festival, filmed on 1 September 1954 at the
rehearsal outside Usher Hall narrated by Alistair Simm in which Brain is seen and heard performing the Siegfried Horn Call;
other miscellaneous subject matter used as source material in the June 2011 publication of his definitive biography, Dennis
Brain : a life in music, University of North Texas Press.
Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries Stanford, California 94305-3076
Abstract: The William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection consists of commercial and unpublished orchestral and solo recordings on audiocassette,
compact disc, 33rpm long play and 78rpm records, VHS video cassette, and DVD, all featuring the world renowned British horn
player, Dennis Brain (1921-1957). Also included are research notes, sheet music, photographs, and books pertaining to Dennis
Brain from the late 1930’s to his death just prior to September 1957. It also includes research notes pertaining to the publication
of the 2011 biography, Dennis Brain : a life in music. The collection is believed to be the largest of its kind, if not the
most comprehensive and organized collection of recorded music related to Dennis Brain anywhere in the world.
Language of Material: English
Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for
Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain
permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.
William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection, ARS-0138. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University
Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
The William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection was donated to the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound by William C. Lynch in
Scope and Contents of Collection
The William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection consists of both commercially released and unpublished recordings of the world
renowned British horn player, Dennis Brain (1921-1957), most of which have been obtained via over the air broadcasts. Others
are derived from privately recorded performances, on reel-to-reel tape, of solo and orchestral performances from the late
1930s through the late 1950s, which were later transferred onto either disc or alternative tape media. The donated collection
differs from other private Dennis Brain collections as: a) most of its contents exists in digital form, b) the collection
is well documented by the donor who acquired its contents largely through exchange, on a work-for-work basis, with other collectors
throughout the world, which in turn enabled the collection to grow over a period of many years, c) the proliferation of digital
technology and the extent of the Internet which has enabled large numbers of Brain works to be commercially produced and stored
on a single digital compact disc by the recording industry. Relational databases now facilitate the search process by providing
ready access to a variety of archives including radio stations, libraries, recording studios, music societies, universities,
TV broadcast stations, national archives, journals, newspapers, and critic reviews of past era performances, all of which
serve to provide an extensive amount of information relating to the life and work of Dennis Brain.
Sources for the collection's audio recordings vary. They include live and recorded off-the-air broadcasts, recorded on tape
and then later transferred to compact disc; rebroadcasts from international festivals; commercially released compact disc
recordings; compact disc recordings purchased from the British Library Sound Archive; miscellaneous radio stations; various
video distributors; the BBC; Stanford University's Archive of Recorded Sound (specifically ARS0124 - Nate Brown Western Sound
Archive Collection); Oesterreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), Salzburg; Deutschland Radio; Pathe’ News; the worldwide Dennis Brain
collector community; and used record shops throughout the world.
The audio portion of this collection primarily consists of solo and orchestral works performed by Dennis Brain, along with
various rehearsal recordings. Many of the solo works included were composed for him by Britain’s leading composers of the
day. The collection also includes recorded lectures by Brain related to the early horn and its evolution along with interviews
with critics, colleagues, composers, conductors, friends and associates of Brain, and other leading principals of the British
music scene as late as December 2011 when BBC Radio 3 featured a broadcast on Dennis Brain during one of its featured programs,
Music Matters. Some works within the collection may appear redundant as to the composer. However Brain recorded the same works
with different conductors and in his earlier years with different orchestras including the Royal Air Force Symphony Orchestra.
More often than not, more than one work or performance is included on a chosen cassette tape or compact disc. Movements are
identified on separate compact disc tracks in most cases. In all but a few instances, programs, conductor, orchestra, recording
dates and program duration are listed on the compact disc cover. Similar details are also enclosed with the audiocassettes.
Also included within the audio collection are five recordings by Kaoru Chiba, Dennis Brain’s most prominent student. His testimony
to Brain’s greatness is faithfully reproduced through his writings, consisting of five published papers, also part of this
Brain performed under no less than seventy conductors, eventually becoming conductor of his own wind quintet, wind ensemble
and chamber orchestra. He recorded with no fewer than fourteen orchestras and seven string ensembles, The London Mozart Players
and The London Wind Ensemble being among the most notable. Brain is heard on the majority of the collection's recordings,
including RAF Symphony Orchestra recordings from the war years along with recordings from various London music halls and European
Also featured are recordings of Brain as organist. It is little known fact that in addition to being a world renowned horn
player, Brain was also an excellent organist, having studied under George Dorrington Cunningham (1878 – 1948), whose others
students included E. Power Biggs. Brain is featured as organist on a number of recordings in the collection, including one
of the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, featuring The Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan,
24 July 1954. Additional recordings featuring Brain as organist include, A Grand Grand Overture from the Hoffnung Music Festival
Concert, Royal Festival Hall, London, 13 November 1956 and an Afrikaans broadcast for "Dingaans Day", 16 December 1940.
Also included in the collection are rare books of the period which served as resource material in the writing of the 2011
biography Dennis Brain : a life in music. The book collection complements those currently residing in the Stanford Library.
Finally, the collection also includes research notes in hard-copy and digital formats, consisting of critic reviews; articles
about Brain composed by peers who knew and worked with him, composers, conductors, musicologists and musicians; music journals;
international newspapers; professional journals; recording reviews; published academia; sheet music of works performed by
Brain; a Sotheby's auction catalog, listing items from Brain’s music library; notes gathered from the Hoover Institution archives
pertaining to the war years; BBC wartime broadcasts of Brain works; program notes from a 2002 celebration of Dennis Brain’s
80th birthday; videocassettes and DVDs of movies in which Brain was an orchestral member for the accompanying film music;
a private collection of commercial and private photographs; video of a 1955 Edinburgh Festival rehearsal, made in 1954, featuring
Brain performing the Siegfried Horn Call; and other miscellaneous documents to aid future researchers in this field.
The collection is believed to be the largest of its kind, if not the most comprehensive and organized collection of recorded
music related to Dennis Brain anywhere in the world. It is considered a living donation through which additions to the collection
will continue as new recordings and findings pertaining to this extraordinary musician are discovered.
Original order has been maintained as closely as possible.
Brain, Dennis , 1921-1957