Music for Brass Septet, Vol. 5: Fauré, Ravel, Debussy

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The music of the London-based brass septet Septura stands apart from that of other brass ensembles on the scene. The existing repertory for brass septet is small, but Septura is neither trying to cover that repertory nor to offer the usual brass ensemble mix of Renaissance polyphony and contemporary pieces. Instead, they aim to create a large body of arrangements for brass septet of music from various periods and of various kinds. The larger size of the ensemble, as compared to a quintet, and the arranging contributions of several members of the group contribute to the necessary flexibility, and several of Septura's numbered series of releases on Naxos are highly recommended. This fifth volume is one of the strongest, filled with songs and orchestral pieces that one would not immediately associate with a brass ensemble, and the fun is in seeing how the arrangers do it. Try out the set of Mélodies by Fauré, where the straightforward melody lines are deployed in various ways within the group. On top of this you will find the considerable chops of the players, capable of executing the ornamented lines that stand in for orchestral textures. A good studio recording would have been preferable to the mushy church sound here, but this recording offers both fun and artistry at a very high level.

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