Nutcracker reviews

Septura’s recording of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker was released in November 2019, and was picked as one of the Christmas highlights of 2019 by both Classic FM and the Daily Mail (UK), and was’s December Editor’s Choice.

Throughout the recording the Septura members play with wonderful precision and commitment. Their sound is clean and well produced. They are assisted by the spacious acoustic which was well captured by the recording engineers. Derek Jacobi recites the story very elegantly with appropriate wonder and humour…An original and very welcome presentation of traditional Holiday confection.

MusicWeb International, January 2020

This ingenious brass septet arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s seasonally inflected final ballet is a hoot, in a very good way. The transcriptions, by Knight and trumpeter Simon Cox, are invariably successful. Act 2’s character dances are predictably enjoyable; there’s some splendid tuba work in the “Dance of the Mirlitons,” and muted trumpets make for an effective celeste substitute in the Sugar Plum Fairy’s solo. And how well this group surmounts the bigger tutti moments. Check out “A Forest of Fir Treed in Winter” and marvel. Seriously impressive playing.

The Arts Desk, December 2019

The brass septet Septura has put brass ensemble music on the charts at a level not seen for some years, and this version of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Op. 71, offers an ideal illustration as to why. It’s not just the virtuosity of the group, although that’s impressive enough. … A top Christmas release of 2019., December 2019

This is world class in its own right and the perfectly proportioned story, narrated with such enchanting brilliance by Derek Jacobi, elevated this recording to a new level. The Nutcracker is a mightily impressive achievement and is a delightful treat for listeners of all ages…Rarely does a recording project manage to capture each aspect of delivery so perfectly.

Brass Band World, November 2019

6th disc reviews

The 6th volume in our Naxos series is a homecoming: music by English composers of the 20th century.

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

Cox and Knight display exquisite sensitivity to the originals; they ought to make a pretty penny moonlighting as professional arrangers and film score orchestrators. How these seven players capture and reconfigure sonic textures as disparate as Finzi’s choral masterpiece God is gone up and Elgar’s lush Serenade for Strings is little short of miraculous. Although my usual inclination is to prefer a composer’s original version (with an exception for Pictures at an Exhibition), these fabulous renditions could easily efface the Ur-texts from my memory forever. If you love brass music, get this pronto, and every other release in the series as well. 

Fanfare Magazine, May 2019

Most of the previous albums by this English brass septet have come my way, and all have left me wanting more. Tone qualities are always pure and consistent, blend is impeccable, intonation flawless…

But this one is different. Maybe it’s because the music is English, so they feel motivated to play persuasively. Maybe it’s because the music is more complex and challenging than in previous outings. Whatever the reason, I rate this album much higher than the previous ones.

American Record Guide, March 2019

The lineup of three trumpets, three trombones and tuba is unexpectedly expressive in Elgar’s Serenade in E minor (originally for strings). If you like English pastoral music, and the sound of brass, this album is irresistible.

The Observer, October 2018

“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!

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.



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



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