CD: Humoreske

Humoreske by The Aurora Ensemble

CD Cover Humoreske by Aurora EnsembleFollowing the success of there 2002 debut album Groove Merchants, during the Summer of 2006 the Aurora Ensemble recorded their second CD 'Humoreske' featuring more of the groups favourite repertoire. The album includes Humoreske - Alexander Zemlinsky; F minor Fantasie - W A Mozart arr. Meyer; Divertimento for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet - Malcolm Arnold and Mississippi Five - Jim Parker's

Buy this album now CD: £10.00 + p&p 

Track Listing & Audio Samples

1 Humoreske (Rondo) Zemlinsky
© Gema/ Universal Edition AB (Wein)
/ Universal Edition (Ldn) Ltd
2 Fantasy in F minor KV594 Mozart (arr. Wolfgang Meyer)
© Musikverlag Hans Sikorski Hamburg
Divertimento for flute, oboe and clarinet op37 Malcolm Arnold
  3 Allegreto energetico
4 Languido
5 Vivace
6 Andantino
7 Maestoso-Prestissimo
8 Piacevole
© Sir Malcolm Arnold CBE/ Paterson's Publications Ltd
Mississippi Five Jim Parker
  9 King Oliver Steps Out
10 Blues for Johnny Dodds
11 The River Queen
12 Le Tombeau de Bessie Smith
13 Les Animaux
© Faber Music  Ltd
14 Walking tune Grainger
15 Lisbon © Percy Aldridge Grainger / Schott & Co. Ltd
16 Andante in F major for cor anglais Reicha
© Universal Edition (Ldn) Ltd
17 Popular Song (from Facade) Walton (arr. Andrew Mason)
© Oxford University Press


CD Notes & Credits

Sleeve Notes

Zemlinsky - Humoreske(Rondo)
65 years after this short wind quintet was written I first performed Humoreske with the Auroras in 1994. Unusually, it opens with a lovely humorous bassoon solo and as a result has since become one of my favourites: what a treat not to play the usual bass line role in the quintet!
It's not called Humoreske for nothing; it is filled with comical melodies and written well for the instruments; every player is kept busy. It makes for good light relief in a quintet recital amongst the bigger pieces in the repertoire.  Connie

Mozart - Fantasy in F minor KV594 'Ein stuck fur ein Orgelwerk in eine uhr'
The only original work by Mozart which the Auroras can perform as a group is the quintet for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, leaving Maxine to turn pages! This lack of representation of Mozart's music in the wind quintet repertoire has led us to bend our general rule about avoiding most arrangements in favour of original works. This Fantasy was originally written to be played on a flute-playing musical clock-a popular feature in palaces and grand stately homes, much like a musical-box. I find it intriguing to think that musical masters such as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven all wrote music for such a machine. Since the musical clock tradition has now died, it only seems right that we should be allowed to revive one of the works written for it through an arrangement for wind quintet, and so bringing a little known work by a great genius to your attention.  Helen

Malcolm Arnold - Divertimento Op.37
We often include works for smaller combinations of winds in our recitals. This piece falls into that category and whilst it is for a slightly unusual combination of instruments, it works fantastically well. The six short movements are full of wit, charm and nostalgia, and it is a real pleasure to perform. My personal favourite moment of the piece comes in the second movement when all three of us come together to play the same note;it sounds like one instrument blowing, and then only a moment later, it splits off into three different notes. It's an astonishing effect!   Andrew

Jim Parker - Mississippi Five
We preformed Mississippi Five at our Wigmore Hall debut (for the Park Lane Group) in 2005, where we met the composer. Since then we have worked on two further new pieces together. Being an oboist, Jim Parker has wisely alloted the difficult parts to the clarinet and flute! Each movement recalls the history of New Orleans jazz music- 'King Oliver' refers to celebrated cornet player, Joe Oliver; Johnny Dodds was a jazz clarinettist; The River Queen was a paddle steamer that would sail on the Mississippi; Bessie Smith was a blues singer that died tragically young; and Les Animaux uses the instruments to imitate the sounds of farmyard animals... listen out for a cow, cockerel and a  horse, amongst others!  Gwenllian

Grainger -'Walking Tune' and 'Lisbon'
We come across these two room-music tit-bits' a couple of years ago, and since then they have proved a popular addition to our repertoire. Walking Tune is exactly that, a fabulous tune that everybody gets a chance at (we try to be democratic in the Auroras), and I love the story of how Grainger collected the tunes of Lisbon from an old man at death's door- and even more the memory of Gwenllian's Norfolk accent as she retold it.   Maxine

Reicha - Andante in F major for cor anglais
Reicha's prolific writing for wind quintet includes two beautiful adagios and an andante, all featuring the cor anglais instead of the oboe. I love playing the F major Andante as the operatic coloratura style gives me a chance to show off. We first performed this at the Ryedale Festival.  Gwenllian

Walton - 'Popular Song' from Facade
I arranged this piece for us about six years ago now, along with two other movements from Facade.Inspired by the use of speech in Berio's Opus Number Zoo(another work which we have played many times), I decided to incorporate the speaking parts into the arrangement. We frequently play this as an encore, and have a great deal of fun doing so. We are still divided as to whether or not the words make perfect sense, or whether they are just plain nonsense... listen, and decide for yourselves!    Andrew


For more information on concerts, workshops and courses please see contact details below

Gwenllian Davies  -   oboe
Maxine Willis -  flute
Helen Shillito  -  horn
Constance Tanner  -  bassoon
Andrew Mason - clarinet

Recorded at All Saints Church Iden August 3rd and 4th 2006
Produced by John Lawley
Edited and Engineered by Charlie Andrew for Anima Audio Productions
Black and White Photography Lizzie Everard

Album Information

Instruments: Wind Ensemble - Bassoon, Oboe, Flute, Clarinet, Horn
Genre: Classical / Contemporary Classical
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0188
MCPS: AuroraCD2
Label: Aurora Ensemble
Year: 2006
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
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

Other Recordings featuring members of the ensemble:

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Eleri Darkins
Eleri Darkins & Gwenllian Davies