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16 April 2024
From Dennis Brain's Library

Stephen Stirling (horn)
Tony Halstead (piano)
Kathron Sturrock (piano)
Christian Halstead (violin)

This captivating album was originally conceived by horn players Stephen Stirling and Tony Halstead (the latter a superb pianist), who had located Dennis Brain’s personal collection of music (now owned and curated by lawyer and horn player Mark Andrews.) During his all too short life, Dennis Brain accumulated a unique and fascinating collection of horn concertos, music for horn and piano, chamber music and scores. Many of these had been sent to him by the composers, whilst other music was acquired himself. The music in this recording contains English, French and German repertoire for horn and piano (plus a violinist in one item) that is largely and unjustifiably unknown, and in most cases previously unrecorded,  giving a delightful and superbly performed 78 minutes’ worth of listening.


Alexander Ecklebe: Sonata for horn and piano

I. Allegro vivace

II. Moderato, poco rubato

III. Allegro


Alan Bush: Autumn Poem, Op. 45

Alan Bush: Trent's Broad Reacher, Op. 36

Arnold Cooke: Rondo in B flat

Arnold Cooke: Arioso and Scherzo for horn, violin and piano, D63

I. Arioso. Andante

II. Scherzo. Allegro vivace


Peter Racine Fricker: Sonata for horn and piano, Op. 24

I. Con moto

II. Scherzo. Presto

III. Invocation. Molto moderato


Henri Büsser: Cantecor for horn and piano

Paul-Antoine Vidal: Pièce de concert

Charles Tournemire: Fantaisie for horn and piano

Raoul Pugno: Solo pour cor

Jean-Baptiste Senaillé: Allegro spiritoso

Camille Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux

XIII. Le cygne

Recorded in The Colyer-Fergusson Hall, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK on 13th-16th September 2021
Design: Hannah Whale, Fruition Creative Concepts
Recording Engineer: Ben Connellan
Recording Producer: Mike Purton
Total Time: 78:21
Release Date: February 2022

Stephen Stirling (horn)Stephen Stirling is a horn soloist and chamber musician of worldwide renown. His discography includes over 90 chamber works and concertos,
many of them world premiere recordings, of both contemporary and neglected works by British composers alongside the great masterpieces for horn. His second recording of the Brahms Horn Trio, with the Florestan Trio (Hyperion), was nominated for a Gramophone award and his set of Mozart Horn Concertos (BMG/Classic FM) with the City of London Sinfonia has been broadcast hundreds of times by Classic FM. The Concertino for Horn by Weber (Chandos), conducted by Michael Collins is also much broadcast. He has played at chamber music festivals all over the world to glowing reviews, ‘phenomenal’ (Berlin) and ‘incomparable’ (Graz). The CD ‘Horn’, with the Fibonacci Sequence on Deux Elles features both favourite and obscure masterpieces from the horn repertoire.

He is the principal horn of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the City of London Sinfonia and the Orchestra of St Johns, and appears regularly as guest principal with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played as soloist with the ASMF and CLS, the Orchestra of St Johns, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe and many others.

Throughout his career Stephen has been associated with innovative ensembles. The New London Chamber Ensemble was one of the first groups,
now much imitated, to pioneer choreographed performances in wind chamber music. In collaboration with Endymion, Capricorn, the NLCE, the Fibonacci Sequence, Arpège, the Composers Ensemble and the Hebrides Ensemble, he has been involved with commissioning, premiering and recording countless new works, chamber and solo, working with some of the finest composers of our time, James Macmillan, Martin Butler, Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adés, Sally Beamish, Brett Dean, Jörg Widmann, and Gary Carpenter to name a few. He was an early member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe which revolutionised performance practice of the classical repertoire on modern instruments through their work with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and recently Stephen has relished working for Aurora Orchestra in memorised live orchestral performances of Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms symphonies.

Stephen is Professor of Horn at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and is a faculty member of the Yellow Barn International Summer Music School and Festival in Vermont, USA. His own studies were at the Royal Northern College of Music with Ifor James and later, privately, with Julian Baker.

Tony Halstead (piano)Although known primarily as a horn player and more recently a conductor, Tony Halstead has been active as a keyboard player for many years. His first major recording project other than as a horn player, the complete cycle of Johann Christian Bach’s 15 fortepiano concertos and 12 harpsichord concertos, with The Hanover Band, was for the German record company cpo.

Soloists and conductors with whom he has collaborated as a continuo player include Christophe Coin, Christopher Hogwood, Gidon Kremer, Julian Lloyd Webber, Simon Standage, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Benedict Preece, Pinchas Zukerman and many others.

As a ‘modern’ pianist Tony has played recitals with instrumentalists Hermann Baumann, William Bennett, Christian Halstead, Frank Lloyd, Thomas Martin, Stephen Stirling, Michael Thompson, Radovan Vlatković, Richard Watkins, and the late Alan Civil, Ifor James and Barry Tuckwell.

Kathron Sturrock (piano)Kathron Sturrock, a student of Alfred Brendel in Vienna and of Mstislav Rostropovitch in Moscow, was twice the winner for the best pianist at the Sofia International Opera Competition. After these awards she was invited to work for several years with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in her Master Classes throughout Europe. She is a founder member and Artistic Director of the chamber ensemble The Fibonacci Sequence, appearing often on BBC Radio 3. As a soloist she has played with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra, making her Proms debut in 1994 in Alan Rawsthorne’s Concerto for 2 pianos with Piers Lane. She has recorded CDs for Hyperion, Chandos, Gamut, Pickwick, Sain, ASV, Black Box, Quartz and Deux-Elles. In September 2003 she joined the Keyboard Faculty at the Royal College of Music, London.

Christian Halstead (violin)Christian Halstead started learning the violin with his mother at the age of five. He continued his studies with professor Dona Lee Croft at the Royal College of Music, where he won several prizes.

Since graduating in 1999, Christian has enjoyed a busy and varied career
as a freelance violinist, working with ensembles such as London Mozart
Players, St. Paul’s Sinfonia, City Chamber Orchestra, 18th Century Concert Orchestra, Ex Cathedra, and Orpheus Sinfonia.

Christian was a founder member of the Southbank Sinfonia in 2002-3; he is also leader of the orchestra for Surrey Opera, and was appointed leader of Kent Sinfonia in December 2011. He also leads the Royal Orchestral Society, the Whitehall Orchestra, and guest-leads the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and the Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra.

MPR112     View Booklet     UPC: 5060742690162

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