CD: Groove Merchants

Groove Merchants by The Aurora Ensemble

CD Cover Groove Merchants by Aurora EnsembleThis recording includes some of the ensemble's favourite repertoire featuring music by Danzi, Pierne, Goleminov, Gershwin, and the work from which the CD takes its name (by Irish composer Ronan Guilfoyle).

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Audio Samples

Track Listing

Wind Quintet in B flat major, op.56/1 Franz Danzi (1763-1826) published by Musikverlag Thomi-Berg, München
1 Allegretto  
2 Andante con moto  
3 Menuett and Trio (Allegretto - Ruhiger)
4 Allegro  
5 Pastorale Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937) published by Alphonse Leduc, Paris
Wind Quintet No.2 Marin Goleminov (1908-2000), copyright control, world premiere CD recording
6 Prelude  
7 Six Paraphrases on a single theme
  i. Giocoso
ii. Doloroso
iii. Pastorale
iv. Quasi Marcia funebre
v. Fantasie
vi. Scherzando
8 Burlesque  
9 Groove Merchants Ronan Guilfoyle (b.1958) published by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland – world première recording
10 Promenade ‘Walking the Dog’ George Gershwin (1898-1937) (arr. Arthur Harris) published by Chappell and Co. Ltd

CD Notes & Credits

Sleeve Notes

Wind Quintet in Bb Op.56 no.1 - Franz Danzi (1763-1826)
Allegretto - Andante con moto - Menuett and Trio - Allegro

Danzi was born in Mannheim and studied with Vogler. He composed 11 operas, several cello concertos and most importantly, thirteen wind quintets. He and his contemporary Antonin Reicha were the first to write for the wind quintet. Neither Beethoven nor Mozart wrote for the combination, thus Danzi is an important representative of music for winds in the Classical era.

Pastorale Op.14 no.1 - Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937)

The oboe and flute ’s light conversational passages transport the listener into a typical French pastoral scene in this beautifully simple movement, which truly demonstrates the lyrical quality of Pierné’s music.

Quintet no.2 - Marin Goleminov (1908-2000)
Prelude - Six Paraphrases on a Single Theme - Burlesque

The Bulgarian composer Goleminov studied at the Schola Cantorum with Vincent d’Indy. As well as being a chamber musician, violinist, conductor of the Sofia Radio Orchestra and Professor at the Sofia Academy, Goleminov found time to compose many stage works, his most acclaimed being The Fire Dancer and The Golden Bird.

Goleminov wrote two wind quintets. The second, written in 1946 betrays his effective use of instrumental timbre and colour. The opening movement has two contrasting themes – a low growling tune on flute, and a sad mournful duet for oboe and bassoon. The theme of the second movement maintains the serious nature of the Prelude. It reappears in various guises – a pastorale, funeral march, fantasia and scherzando. In the closing Burlesque, the second subject bears a distinct resemblance to the theme of the finale of Stravinsky’s Firebird ballet.

Groove Merchants - Ronan Guilfoyle b.1958

Ronan Guilfoyle is one of Ireland’s best-known jazz musicians. He studied bass and improvisation with Dave Holland in Banff, Canada and as a bass player he has performed extensively in Europe, Asia and the USA. He is director of the jazz department at Newpark Music Centre, Dublin and has lectured on improvisation for the International Music Council of UNESCO. As a composer he has written for theatre, television, film, orchestra and chamber groups. Groove Merchants was written in 1996 and the first UK performance was given by the Aurora Ensemble at Sheffield Cathedral in September 2000. Groove Merchants is based on a groove established at the outset by the bassoon, which imitates a slap bass. The other instruments enter in turn, each with a distinct motive and imitating a jazz instrument - clarinet (sax/clarinet), oboe (trumpet), horn (trombone), and flute (scat singer).

Walking the Dog - George Gershwin (1898-1937) arr. Arthur Harris

The score to the film Shall we Dance? was the first work written by the Gershwins after Porgy and Bess. The music was actually scored for a chamber orchestra - quite unusual for George Gershwin, who normally wrote the music then passed it on to studio arrangers for the scoring. It is set on an ocean liner and Fred Astaire plans to meet Ginger Rogers during the hour allotted to the passengers for dog walking.


This project was made possible by generous funding from Musique d’Ensemble/FNAPEC and The Linden Fund through the Community Foundation.

Special thanks to John Lawley, Ronan Guilfoyle, Andrew Cottee
Recorded at the Royal College of Music November 14th and 15th 2002
Producer John Lawley, Engineer (tbc). Design Ron Rous, Halberton Studio
Photography Clare Green, Manufacturing Parish Recording


Album Information

Instruments: Wind Ensemble - Bassoon, Oboe, Flute, Clarinet, Horn
Genre: Classical / Contemporary Classical
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0006
MCPS: AuroraCD1
Label: Aurora Ensemble
Year: 2002
Origin: UK

Ensemble Information & Contact Details

Aurora Ensemble Logo 

Prizewinners at the European chamber music competition, Musique d’Ensemble held at the Paris Conservatoire in 2001, the Aurora Ensemble has performed in many major venues and festivals including the Purcell Room (for the Park Lane Group), Manchester‘s Bridgewater Hall, Cardiff‘s St. David‘s Hall and the Cheltenham, Thaxted, Ryedale and Petworth Festivals. It has broadcast on ORS Television (Austria) and BBC Radio 3 for the Young Artists' Forum Series.

In 2002 the ensemble gave the first complete performance of Rhian Samuel’s Primavera and recorded it’s debut CD, which included the first CD recording of Marin Goleminov’s Wind Quintet No.2 and the world première recording of Ronan Guilfoyle’s Groove Merchants. The Auroras are currently in the process of commissioning a new work from Ronan, for première during 2004.

Established in 2000, Sounds Exciting (Patron Neil Black OBE) is the ensemble’s own education project, which runs in conjunction with their recital work. Recent projects include a children’s concert with narration from former Blue Peter presenter, Janet Ellis. The ensemble has also commissioned artwork from children’s illustrator, Caroline Glicksman, to use in their children’s concerts. The ensemble directs its own chamber music course at Hawkwood College, Gloucestershire every Easter and for Benslow Music Trust each December. It is also a member of the late Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now! scheme which takes live music into the wider community - to hospitals, prisons, residential homes for the elderly and schools and centres for people with disabilities.

The Aurora Ensemble are Maxine Willis (flute), Gwenllian Davies (oboe), Andrew Mason (clarinet), Helen Shillito (horn), Constance Tanner (bassoon).

“The excellent Aurora Ensemble played…with dazzling precision and infectious wit…These players are a superb team, brilliantly accomplished, and I long to hear more of them *****” Financial Times

“moments of real inspiration…energy and enthusiasm…an enthralling interpretation.”
The Guardian

“flames flickered with the Aurora Ensemble…Out from mouths and fingers came immaculately polished and blended sounds.” The Times

“The Aurora Ensemble played with complete professionalism - tight, witty, beautifully balanced and cleverly phrased.”
The Independent on Sunday

“An extremely valuable workshop - certainly enriched the curriculum and a good stimulus for further work” Benedict Biscop Primary School

Aurora Ensemble
Aurora Ensemble
Contact Details
Helen Shillito
36, Ospringe Road
ME13 7LJ
Telephone 01795 532 432
Booking Available for Ensemble Concerto performances (such as Mozart Sinfonia Concertante), concerts, recitals, festivals and for public & private events. Classical & Contemporary. In addition to wind quintet formation, smaller combinations are possible (such as duo/trio), and can expand to include harp and/or piano.

Maxine Willis* (flute), Gwenllian Davies* (oboe), Andrew Mason* (clarinet), Helen Shillito* (horn), Constance Tanner (bassoon), Eleri Darkins (harp).

* indicates performed on Groove Merchants. Also performing on the album was Sarah Andrew (bassoon). Sarah has since left The Aurora Ensemble to take up a position with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra - We wish Sarah all the best.

Workshops & Courses The Aurora Ensemble run regular workshops and courses, for more information please use the link below to their own web site.
External links

Artist Information: Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason (Clarinet/Bass Clarinet)
Photo of Andrew MasonAndrew studied at the Royal College of Music as a Foundation Scholar with Colin Bradbury, Janet Hilton, Robert Hill and Michael Harris, winning the Frederick Thurston Clarinet Prize and the Roger Fallows Memorial Prize. In 2002 he made his Purcell Room debut for the Park Lane Group’s New Year series (“subtle virtuosity…mercurial responses and reactions” The Times “a dynamic player…he created a powerful impact immediately” The Independent). Earlier this year he made his recital debut at the Wigmore Hall, with duo partner Joanna Smith. This August he will once again perform as a soloist for the BBC Proms composer portrait series, for broadcast on Radio 3. With The Aurora Ensemble he has performed in St. David’s Hall, the Purcell Room and the Bridgewater Hall. In 2001 they were prize winners at the European Chamber Music Competition, Musique d’Ensemble held at the Paris Conservatoire. The ensemble has taken many schools' workshops and runs its own chamber music courses at Hawkwood College and for Benslow Music Trust. Andrew is a member of Live Music Now! with the Aurora Ensemble and the London Clarinet Quartet, who were also finalists in this year’s Royal Overseas League competition. Andrew has played for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, International Bachakademie Festival Orchestra and Southbank Sinfonia.
Contact Details
Andrew Mason
Based in Faversham, Kent
Mobile 07887 835 827
E-mail Click to E-mail 
Booking Available for Concerto performances, concerts, recitals, festivals and as a freelance / session clarinettist for public & private events. Classical & Contemporary
Teaching 'Private pupils.  Clarinet & Saxophone teacher at Bute House preparatory School, London and St. Paul's Girls' School, London.
Ensembles Aurora Ensemble, Mason-Smith Clarinet and Piano Duo, London Clarinet Quartet, performances of unaccompanied contemporary clarinet works
Artist Web Site

Recordings by The Aurora Ensemble and its members

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Eleri Darkins
Eleri Darkins & Gwenllian Davies