It is fair to say that the predominant brass ensemble is the quintet. Most composers and arrangers have turned to it at some point and it boasts music by great composers such as Lutoslawski, Tilson Thomas, Henze and Maxwell Davies. For the last few years Simon Cox has been asking some probing questions as to exactly why this has been the go-to orchestration for composers, whether the traditional combination of instruments is a fundamentally floored concept and, that being the case, what orchestration offers the best blend and flexibility of ensemble.
The tangible answer to these questions can be seen with the formation of his new brass group Septura. In his own words, ‘Septura’s members are the leading players of the new generation of British brass musicians, and 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, and include commissioning repertoire in addition to working with younger groups to encourage the expansion of the medium.’
Its debut CD, transcriptions of choral and organ works by Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn and Schumann, is to be released by Naxos this summer. There are some demo tracks on the website that are definitely worth a listen and I hope you’ll agree, both the flexibility and blend of the ensemble are sure to appeal to audiences, composers and arrangers everywhere.
For more information click here to visit their website.