SEVEN DEADLY SINS

Seven brass players, seven pieces, Seven Deadly Sins. Septura possesses the varied repertoire (and its members perhaps the relevant personal experience) to portray all seven: fallen humanity’s tendency to sin expressed by envious Rameau, greedy Ravel, wrathful Bach, lustful Purcell, proud Prokofiev, slothful Lassus, and finally gluttonous Rachmaninov.

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Suite from Dardanus
Maurice Ravel – Nicolette (from Trois Chansons)
Johann Sebastian BachNun seid ihr wohl gerochen (from Christmas Oratorio)
Henry Purcell – The Curious Impertinent

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Sergei Prokofiev – Suite (from 10 Pieces, Op. 12)
Orlande de Lassus 
Lagrime di San Pietro
Sergei Rachmaninov – Slava! (from Four Pieces, Op. 11)

HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALL’N

In the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Septura presents a secular Remembrance programme. Inspired by the strong battlefield associations of brass instruments, our focus is the mortal aspect of armed conflict, with music by Ramsey, Handel and Shostakovich reflecting themes of heroism, sacrifice, and grief.

The Last Post
Robert Ramsey – How are the mighty fall’n
George Frideric Handel – Suite from Rinaldo
Ivan MoodyLacrimae

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Dmitri Shostakovich – Quartet No. 8

CHRISTMAS WITH SEPTURA

A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols for Brass Septet

Septura perform their very own take on the famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols Christmas Eve service from King’s College, Cambridge. The wide-ranging content of the Nine Lessons – from the fall of Adam and the wrath of Herod, to the mystery of the Incarnations and the peace that Christ will bring – is echoed by varied musical masterpieces: Christmas favourites spanning over five centuries from Palestrina to Rachmaninov.

Heinrich SchützDas Wort ward Fleisch
FIRST LESSON
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – The Crown of Roses
SECOND LESSON
Anton BrucknerOs Justi
THIRD LESSON
Johann Sebastian Bach –  Ich freue mich in dir (from BWV 133)
FOURTH LESSON
Michael PraetoriusEs ist ein Ros entsprungen
Johannes Brahms – Chorale Prelude: Es ist ein Rot entsprungen
FIFTH LESSON
Robert ParsonsAve Maria
Sergei Rachmaninov –  Bogoroditse devo (from All-Night Vigil)
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G.P. da PalestrinaCanite tuba
SIXTH LESSON
Peter Warlock – Bethlehem Down
Edvard Grieg – Homeward
SEVENTH LESSON
Sergei RachmaninovSlava v vishnikh Bogu (from All-Night Vigil)
EIGHTH LESSON
Peter Cornelius – The Three Kings
Johann Sebastian BachNun seid ihr wohl gerochen (from Christmas Oratorio)
NINTH LESSON
George Frideric Handel – Final Chorus from Messiah

BRIDGING LA MANCHE

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and the “island nations” of classical music

Standing together at the edge of Europe, France and England share inextricably intertwined geopolitical histories: in turns ruled together, fighting each other, competing for empire, and joined in war against a common enemy. And they are also linked by a strange relationship with the European classical tradition: both have had some composers at the very forefront of their art, the greats amongst their contemporaries; but there have also been droughts – huge swathes of music history, most noticeably the all-important classical and early romantic periods, in which neither nation has produced any composers of note.

Our geography – the narrowness of the channel – makes artistic similarities inevitable, and it’s also easy to see why these two stand outside of the mainstream: Britain is an island nation, set apart from mainland Europe; and France has a sustained history of warring with its Teutonic neighbours – from pre-Roman times up to the end of the Second World War.

This programme compares contemporary composers from the musical high- and politically notable- points of both nations’ histories: the early polyphony of Josquin des Prez and Robert Parsons; the Lully-influenced opera of Purcell and Rameau; turn-of-the-century Parry and Debussy, who both died in 1918; and their successors Ravel and Vaughan Williams.

Josquin des PrezAve Maria (a6)
Robert ParsonsAve Maria

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Suite from Dardanus
Henry Purcell – The Married Beau

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Claude Debussy Préludes
Hubert Parry – Songs of Farewell

Maurice Ravel – Trois Chansons
Ralph Vaughan Williams – The Turtle Dove

SACRED & PROFANE

A Rite of Passage for Brass Septet

To those who revere the great composers of the past, their works are practically sacred. Transcribing these for brass is an almost criminal profanity, and Septura is the culprit.

Why brave the wrath of the music lover? Well, the brass septet is a brand new creation, so we have no choice: driven to thieving by the paucity of the established repertoire. The aim is not to produce cheap counterfeits though; rather it is to engage our audience in that cornerstone of all religion, the archetypal Rite of Passage: the transition from Profane to Sacred.

In works all related to the sacred and profane dichotomy in very different ways, we hope to persuade our listeners that, far from profaning these masterpieces, their re-imagining for brass can in fact consecrate them anew.

Johannes Brahms – Geistliches Lied
Sergei Prokofiev – Suite (from 10 Pieces, Op. 12)
Orlande de Lassus – Lagrime di San Pietro

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George Frideric Handel – Suite from Rinaldo
Anton Bruckner – Ave Maria & Os Justi
Sergei Rachmaninov – Four Pieces (from Op. 11)

UNMASKING MAY DAY

Musical meanings of the first day of Summer

Traditionally the first day of Summer, May Day has been celebrated throughout history. Already a significant date in Roman and pre-Christian pagan cultures, it was adopted by the Catholic Church, observed with devotions to the Virgin Mary, and also recognised as the feast day of her husband, Joseph, patron saint of workers – perfect to be re-cast by the Communists as International Workers’ Day. The festive madrigals and dances were banned when the Puritan parliaments of the interregnum abolished May Day; but appropriately enough for a festival with such close ties to themes of fertility and re-birth, they were reinstated with Charles II’s restoration. But the term ‘May Day’ has a darker resonance in modern times: perhaps spelt “m’aidez”, it was appropriated early in the 20th century to replace SOS as the international distress signal.

In a wide-ranging programme of music for brass, Septura reflect on this single date’s incredibly diverse set of identities.

Tomás Luis de Victoria – Congratulamini mihi
Henry Purcell – The Curious Impertinent
Anton Bruckner – Ave Maria
Jean-Philippe Rameau – Suite from Dardanus

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Dmitri Shostakovich – Quartet No. 8