David Matthews’ Capriccio from 1991 celebrates and commemorates the great French Horn player Dennis Brain. A 10-minute set of variations for two solo French horns and string ensemble, it was composed to mark 70 years since Brain’s birth for the Philharmonia orchestra, where Brain was principal. It is also inspired by the famous horn solo in Richard Strauss’ opera of the same name. The two horn parts play different roles – one concertante, the other offering a bass line – but come together in a cadenza.  

“The piece…invoked Brain’s spontaneity and bubbling enthusiasm in a kind of Straussian serenade-like idiom which the still lamented hero of the horn would have relished.”
The Guardian (Meirion Bowen), 21 May 1991