A London principal horn tells all

A London principal horn tells all


norman lebrecht

May 22, 2021

John Burden was principal horn of the London Symphony Orchestra during the turbulent years of the mid-20th century.

His son Tim has found a tape of his father’s reminiscences, including why he turned down a Philharmonia offer to sit beside Dennis Brain.

Among other career highlights, he performed at the Queen’s Coronation and transcribed Paul McCartney’s hums into the brass part on Sergeant Pepper’s title track. He tells it all in the phlegmatic manner of British musicians of his time.

Listen here.

John Burden died in 2010 at the age of 89.



  • Adrian says:

    Er, John Burden died in 2010…

  • Graham Elliott says:

    No mention here of Sid Fell, which is a pity, as he was a leading figure in the LSO bust up. So few recordings of Fell as well. If the Burden household has anything to reveal, that would be so welcome.

  • microview says:

    Did I hear flawed soundtrack correctly and Malcolm Sargent was known as ‘Dr Durex’?

  • P R Terry says:

    Sergeant was a notorious womaniser.