“Septura’s debut album for Naxos will prove highly appealing for its originality. The question posed is: what would the result have been if certain 19th-century composers such as Brahms and Bruckner had composed for brass septet? The answer comes in the form of these highly skilful and imaginative arrangements of sacred music and works for organ from the period. None of them have been recorded before. Built on a dazzling exploration of the instruments’ capabilities in range, colour and dynamics, they make for an innovative and highly engaging listening experience.”
- Klaus Heymann, founding chairman of Naxos
“When the chance came to record a series of discs for Naxos it was the perfect opportunity to establish the septet medium: each disc would be a focused exploration of a particular period, genre and group of composers; over the course of the series this would create a canon of works imagining that these great composers had, in fact, written substantial works for brass.
Hearing the arrangements and transcriptions brought to life by the group — the culmination of many years of planning — was an exhilarating experience, and I hope that listeners are convinced by our efforts to 're-imagine' these works as original nineteenth-century pieces for brass. I am particularly grateful to Naxos for sharing our vision and bringing it to life by embarking upon this exciting series of discs.”
What if four celebrated nineteenth-century composers—Mendelssohn, Schumann, Bruckner and Brahms—had written original works for brass septet? This disc explores that fascinating counterfactual twist, re-imagining choral and organ works by those composers. The arrangements call on the full dynamic and tonal range of the instruments—often extended with a multitude of mutes—to imitate the expressivity of the choir, the power of the organ, and the versatile sonorities of its different registrations and manuals. In dazzling and varied combinations the arrangers and performers together persuade us that this could indeed be original brass chamber music.
Listen to an extract from Schumann’s 4 Doppelchörige Gesänge, Op. 141 – II. Ungewisses Licht
About the Artists
Septura is a brass septet specialising in the performance of music by the major classical composers. Septura’s members are the leading players of the new generation of British brass musicians, holding principal positions in the London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Scottish Opera and Aurora orchestras. They are united by their belief in the potential of the brass septet to be a uniquely powerful vessel for chamber music. The group’s activities are fuelled by a desire to enhance the status of brass ensembles amongst the wider musical community, with a particular focus on developing new repertoire in the form of both transcriptions and original works.