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Christmas with Septura

Schutz / Bach,J.s. / Septura
Release Date: 11/11/2016 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573719  
Composer:  Heinrich SchützJohann Sebastian BachHarold Edwin DarkeMichael Praetorius,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I’m reluctant to play into something that may be a stereotype, but–brass players just always seem to be having so much fun! Somewhere very close behind their performing is a clever smile, a knowing of something light-hearted yet perhaps a little raunchy, or just mischievous, or maybe just a cool inside joke. Whatever, they are enjoying themselves and their place as the fun/assertive/impossible-to-ignore bad boy and girl characters of the instrumental world. Usually brass ensembles are the standard quintets–two trumpets, horn, trombone, and tuba. But what of a septet consisting of two B-flat trumpets, E-flat trumpet, two trombones, bass trombone, and tuba? Who cares when the playing–and the repertoire and arrangements–are as good as we have Read more here, from the group called Septura.

Obviously this is a Christmas album, but Septura has chosen to present its program not just as arrangements of familiar carols and medleys of popular sacred and secular pieces–you know, the way we usually hear these things. Instead the group has taken Christmas-related classical works, mostly from the choral repertoire, and set them–deftly and affectingly–for their particular instrumental cohort. These are works from composers such as Schütz, Bach, Palestrina, and Parsons–not on the list of common Christmas caroling programs. We also get beautifully conceived settings of standard choral masterpieces like Harold Darke’s In the bleak midwinter; Leontovych’s Carol of the Bells; and Peter Cornelius’ The Three Kings. Yes, some standard hymns are represented: Praetorius’ Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (also in a setting by Brahms) and Gruber’s Stille Nacht. And there is even a well-realized 11-minute collection of Messiah selections.

Another generalization: performances by brass groups on this level are invariably good, and make uniquely satisfying listening. There’s just something about the sound of these very compatible instruments blending so richly, with such a smooth, easy, confident, cooly show-offy manner (“we’ve got this!”)–and when the performances are articulated with such precision and expressive uniformity–they always are–your ear just celebrates. And yours will when you hear this–one of those holiday recordings you can just put on and enjoy either as a mood-enhancing background or a more forward contributor to the seasonal festivities.

– ClassicsToday (David Vernier) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Geistliche Chormusik, Op. 11/SWV 369-397: Das Wort ward Fleisch, SWV 385 by Heinrich Schütz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
2.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 9, Ach, mein herzliebes Jesulein by Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Ich freue mich in dir, BWV 133: no 1, Ich freue mich in dir by Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
4.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 5, Wie soll ich dich empfangen by Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: Leipzig, Germany 
5.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 64, Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen by Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
6.
In the bleak mid-winter by Harold Edwin Darke
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
7.
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
8.
Chorale Preludes (11) for Organ, Op. 122: no 8, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Austria 
9.
Crown of Roses, Op. 54: No. 5 "Legend" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
10.
Carol of the Bells by Mykola Leontovych
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Modern 
Written: 1910; Ukraine 
11.
Capriol Suite: 5th movement, Pieds-en-l'air by Peter Warlock
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
12.
Benedicamus Domino by Peter Warlock
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
13.
Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; England 
14.
Canite tuba by Giovanni Palestrina
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1572; Italy 
15.
Ave Maria by Robert Parsons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1560s; England 
16.
Vespers, Op. 37: no 6, Hail, Virgin, Mother of God by Sergei Rachmaninov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
17.
Vespers, Op. 37: no 12, Glory to God in the highest by Sergei Rachmaninov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915; Russia 
18.
Weihnachtslieder, Op. 8: Die Könige by Peter Cornelius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Romantic 
19.
Messiah, HWV 56: The trumpet shall sound by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
20.
Messiah, HWV 56: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
21.
Messiah, HWV 56: Amen by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
22.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Septura
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Brass for the holidays November 12, 2016 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "Brass music is an important part of the Christmas season, so it's nice to see this Naxos album from the London-based Septura brass septet (4 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, bass trombone). Indeed, this is one of the best Christmas albums I've heard in years, with amazing arrangements and outstanding musicianship. Sure there are lots of old favourites, but they end up sounding new. Matthew Knight's arrangement of Harold Darke's great In the Bleak Midwinter, for example, is really special, as is his version of my favourite carol, Peter Warlock's Bethlehem Down. Less familiar pieces include the celebratory Canite Tuba of Palestrina, a couple of sombre pieces from Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigils, and a lovely arrangement by Simon Cox of Tchaikovsky's Crown of Roses. A very strong recommendation: wrap it up and put it under the tree.* * but then open it right away and play it." Report Abuse
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