This is not really a Christmas album, but it’s Christmassy.
Septura (not to be confused with the Brazilian metal band from Belo Horizonte) brings together a number of London’s leading brass players. It’s a brass septet and thus has no traditional repertoire, and is creating its own, recording a series of 10 CDs of different eras for Naxos.
This CD sees them turn to “one of the most ground-breaking periods of music history”: France at the outset of the 20th century. The group re-imagine works by the three composers, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel.
The playing (deliberately, given the era) is Impressionistic, and creates an atmosphere rather than presenting stirring brass anthems. It also doesn’t sound like a traditional brass band, being gentler, more like chamber music. They say in the sleeve notes that they try to reflect the composers’ aims of not presenting a description of their subjects but its essence.
Septura’s members include Philip Cobb, Simon Cox, Huw Morgan, Alan Thomas, Matthew Gee, Matthew Knight, Daniel West, Sasha Koushk-Jalali and Peter Smith, with members holding principal positions with the London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Basel Symphony and Aurora orchestras.
Out now on Naxos, 8.573619.