Pioneers of brass chamber music, Septura Brass Septet, are enjoying their busiest season to date.
Established in 2012 by trumpet player Simon Cox, and comprising some of London’s principal brass players, the septet have successfully redefined the role of the brass section in chamber music to high critical acclaim.
Their mission is to redefine brass chamber music through the uniquely expressive sound of the brass septet. By creating a canon of transcriptions, arrangements and new commissions for this brand new classical configuration, Septura aims to re-cast the brass ensemble as a serious artistic medium.
Simon said: “One can easily get caught up in the fashion of the day. Classical music has been around for centuries and will still be around for a long time to come. We can perform in unusual venues, in unusual places but the essence of the music needs to be kept intact. Classical music doesn’t need to change, we just have to have faith in what we do.”
The group is recording a series of discs for Naxos Records, each focused on a particular period, genre and set of composers, creating a “counter-factual history” of brass chamber music. Septura’s members hold principal positions in the London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Basel Symphony and Aurora orchestras.
The Septet delighted Absolute Classics audiences last December with two dazzling Christmas concerts that packed the halls and convinced music lovers in Dumfries and Galloway that a brass ensemble can deliver an unforgettable, uniquely sound in a chamber setting.
Simon explained: “I have a background as an orchestral musician. After studying in London, I moved to Finland and joined the Helsinki Philharmonic for three years. It was here I became more interested in chamber music and noticed a brass section did not really have a role. I returned to the UK and embarked on a PhD at the Royal Academy of Music, investigating the field of brass chamber music and developing repertoire for the brass septet, a brand new classical configuration. The formation of a brass septet was part of this work.”
The Septet takes the same format as an orchestral brass section, comprising three trombones, three trumpets and a tuba, and is far removed from the traditional British brass band sound.
Simon added: “The brass band scene in Britain has a wonderful heritage but that’s not what we do.”
“The group has had its ups and downs and some frustrating periods but it is very encouraging that people coming to our concerts are leaving convinced that we are a serious medium for the classical repertoire.
“We were a lot busier with concerts last year and this season has been our busiest to date.”
Simon is convinced that taking music directly to people is important to reach new audiences and he fully supports the work of Absolute Classics in bringing exciting and engaging music and music-making activities into remote communities across Dumfries and Galloway.
He said: “It is wonderful what Absolute Classics has done for classical music in Dumfries and Galloway and it is building all the time.
“From a musician’s point of view, we really enjoyed travelling up to the region. It was great to meet many of the audience members at both venues. That was a real highlight for us. Some people were talking about where they should go to see our future performances. It was a very positive experience.”