“Ensemble playing of the highest quality” – Bachtrack

Our 2017-18 season came to an end with the final performance of our Kleptomania series at St John’s Smith Square, London. It’s been a fantastic season for Septura, full of firsts – our first US and Germany tours, first visits to lots of fantastic UK venues and festivals, and of course, our first concert series, performed in London and Cambridge.

Kleptomania has been an important artistic step for the group – a chance to gain performance experience of lots of our existing repertoire, as well as to play several brand new large-scale arrangements. We’re delighted that the final concert, Song Swag, received a 4* review on Bachtrack, which called it “ensemble playing of the highest quality”, and noted that “if you thought an ensemble of trumpets and trombones would be limited in tonal colour, you could not be more wrong”. You can read the full review here.

We’re looking forward to an even more exciting season in 2018-19. Details will be published towards the end of the summer, so watch this space!

Christmas disc reviews

In our latest recording for Naxos, Christmas with Septura, we re-imagine some of the musical masterpieces that Christmas has inspired. The album reached the top 5 of the Specialist Classical Chart in its first week on sale.

This is what the press have had to say about it:

 

If you like a shot of brass to set the festive ambiance, this new anthology by Septura, an elite group drawing on the finest players in London, is just the ticket.

Three rousing numbers from Handel’s Messiah cap a recital so entertaining that the missing words don’t matter.

BBC Music Magazine (Performance ★★★★, Recording ★★★★)

 

Septura’s new disc is a classy, erudite affair…The arrangements are beautifully done; who’d have thought that individual movements from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio would sound so idiomatic played by a brass septet?

In a pair of movements from Rachmaninov’s Vespers, the players’ impeccable intonation [lends] the richer harmonies a thrilling physicality which can be missing from wobbly vocal performances.

An enchanting disc, brilliantly recorded and a steal at this price.

The Arts Desk –2016’s Best Seasonal Discs

 

While this might be a disc firmly targeted at the Seasonal market…the quality of the music, arranging and playing is worthy of all-year listening.

I thoroughly enjoyed this disc from first to last. The programme skilfully balances familiar and unusual music and is drawn together by the considerable skill of the arranging and playing. The sound of Septura is exceptionally beautiful – warm and rounded but with dazzling brilliance too when required…this is a beautiful sounding disc.

Throughout the programme, these are musically as well as technically satisfying performances. In fact the perfection of ensemble, balance and intonation is striking.

Nick Barnard, Musicweb International

 

Christmas with Septura (Naxos) features an excellent bass septet performing arrangements of music by Bach, Handel, Rachmaninov, and Warlock. The arrangement of “Ich freue mich in dir” (“I am delighted in thee”) is a joy to listen to. This is a great one to play in the background to lift everyone’s spirits.

Jason Victor Serinus, The Bay Area Reporter

 

The playing is sublime throughout the recording…the musical arrangements, all compiled by Septura artistic directors Simon Cox and Matthew Knight, are additionally first-rate.

A serious disc of serious classical festive-themed repertoire and featuring brass performance of the highest calibre, which should be high on the Christmas wish list of every seasoned fan of brass.

Craig Roberts, Brass Band World (Performance ★★★★★   Recording ★★★★★)

 

Throughout the playing is refined and silky smooth as befits the music, the balance between instruments ideally blended…a disc we will get out each Christmas to savour this fabulous brass playing that has been atmospherically recorded.

David Denton

Yorkshire Post: ‘Absolutely fabulous’

Ryedale Festival
David Denton – Yorkshire Post, 26 July 16

The Festival opened in the fine acoustics of Pickering’s historic church with Septura, probably today’s leading European brass group. Their programme mixed Baroque and 20th century music, a taste of their trademark refinement and sheer unabashed virtuosity. Absolutely fabulous.

Read more

4th disc reviews

Septura’s 4th recording for Naxos takes us back to the original golden age of brass chamber music with the music of Gabrieli and his counter-reformation contemporaries Lassus, Palestrina and Victoria. This is what the UK and international press made of it:

Sacred pieces by Victoria, Lassus and Palestrina all evince a paradoxically delightful sombre monotony and are beautifully intoned.

The Sunday Times (London)

 

With this CD Septura proves once again that the ensemble is one of the best in the world.

Ouverture – Das Klassik-Blog [DE]

 

The players are so fundamentally good—such stable tone at all times, such ease of tuning and blending with each other—that one suspects a program like this might not have taken long to prepare and record.

American Record Guide

 

There is an overwhelming sense of sincerity present in both the skilfully crafted new arrangements… and the execution of performance, which is characterised by an approach to sound concept and turn of phrase that is seemingly laced
 with historical consideration and musical purpose.

For those listeners with a lust 
for music of rare reflective quality and unparalleled beauty, realised through
some the most perfect technical execution in brass performance recorded to date, Septura’s Music for Brass Septet – Volume 4 is sure to be one of the most treasured CD releases of 2016.

Brass Band World

 

The quality of their playing is so outstanding…The disc’s ’crowning jewel’ is the Four Motets by the Spanish-born, Tomás Luis de Victoria, the interplay between instruments fascinating in the contrapunctal lines, while a most pleasing vivacity is brought to the final Surrexit pastor bonus. Add a quite gorgeous sound quality and you have an absolute irresistible release.

David Denton

Music for Brass Septet 3: Reviews

Our hotly-anticipated third disc is out: Russian music by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Scriabin and Rachmaninov. It contains perhaps our most ambitious transcription to date: Shostakovich’s epic 8th string quartet.

Brilliantly done…Arranging a string quartet by Shostakovich into a piece for brass septet has a touch of madness about it: surely the two remote sound worlds could never connect. Simon Cox and Matthew Knight, respectively trumpeter and trombonist in Septura, have made a brilliant job of doing just that with the black, elegiac Quartet No 8 Op 110. Sour, fierce string attacks translate convincingly into trumpet blasts. Sonorous chordal passages acquire added depth.

The Observer ★★★★

 

Notable for its polished technique and ensemble

BBC Music Magazine (Performance ★★★★   Recording ★★★★)

 

I would say that this set of transcriptions is Septura’s most successful to date, a tribute to the skills of the players and the arranger.

MusicWeb International

 

Particularly well adapted

Crescendo (French)

 

Another first rate release from this enterprising ensemble. Highly recommended

Brass Band World

2nd disc reviews

Music for Brass Septet 2 transports the listener to the Baroque theatre: music by Handel, Purcell, Rameau and Blow. This is brass instruments in their element, and some of our reviewers seem to have agreed:

This is virtuoso playing: glossy, brilliantly articulated, audaciously coloured, technically flawless. You can hear the admiration for the source material in Knight’s arrangement of the Blow and Cox’s Rameau, Handel and Purcell.

BBC Music Magazine (Performance ★★★★   Recording ★★★★★)

 

The performances are what one expects from U.K. brass players – bright, clear, full and rounded in tone, with the right blend of heft and lyricism when called for.

WQXR New York: Album of the Week

 

The most interesting, innovative and perfectly played disc of brass ensemble music I have ever encountered…As a person with an in-built aversion to transcriptions and arrangements, that commendation is all the more surprising, the two members of the group, Simon Cox and Matthew Knight, having perfectly achieved the sound and period feel of these excepts from the Baroque era…The speed of articulation of all involved is riveting, while chording, balance and rhythmic unanimity is immaculate; their ability to play pianissimo right off the musical map for most brass groups. 

David Denton

 

Complete success!

Ouverture (German)

 

Spectacularly virtuosic playing.

Musical sensibilities, tonal beauty, balance, intonation, technique… all struck me as faultless. 

Devoted brass music fans absolutely must not miss Septura’s spectacularly virtuosic playing! However, even if you do not often listen to brass, you owe it to yourself to hear what finesse is possible at the highest level of the art.

Expedition Audio

 

This Septura brass CD is an excellent addition to any music lover’s collection. Their musicality and technical playing abilities have set a high standard for Baroque music on brass instruments.

International Trombone Association Journal

 

Stylistic perfection. …this album along with Septura’s first has already received the highest plaudits from far and wide, …a veritable feast of beautifully portrayed artistry allied to virtuosic deliverance. 

Brass Band World

Debut disc reviews

Septura’s debut recording for Naxos has been a chart success, reaching No.3 in the Specialist Classical Chart. This is what the press have had to say:

Uplifting debut from a magnificent seven…stirring, thoughtful debut

 The Observer ★★★★★

 

Superbly played and warmly engineered debut disc of imaginatively conceived arrangements

BBC Music Magazine (Performance ★★★★, Recording ★★★★★)

 

Septura match the sincerity of Bruckner’s motet texts in their noble performances.

Gramophone

 

This is an excellent brass septet…The sounds are full and beautiful from beginning to end.

American Record Guide

 

This is brass playing at its most exalted

Fanfare

 

Recital of pure gold

Ritmo ★★★★ (Spain)

 

Throughout the record the playing is exceptional…This is a superb album, full of thoughtful and intelligent music making at its best.

The Trombonist