Ensemble PHACE — “Wrestling Samoa; Works for Saxophone, Ensemble, Electronics” (2015)

Cite this article as:

Lars Mlekusch. (September 14, 2021). Ensemble PHACE — “Wrestling Samoa; Works for Saxophone, Ensemble, Electronics” (2015). International Journal of Music. Accessed July 13, 2024. https://ijm.education/winds/woodwinds/saxophone/ensemble-phace-wrestling-samoa-works-for-saxophone-ensemble-electronics-2015/

Ensemble PHACE’s album, “Wrestling Samoa; Works for Saxophone, Ensemble, Electronics” (2015), stands as a testament to the boundless possibilities of contemporary musical collaboration. Featuring compositions by Bernhard Lang, Jorge Sánchez-Chiong, Ricardo Nillni, and Germán Toro-Perez, the album is a sonic journey that traverses the realms of saxophone, ensemble, and electronics. As the saxophonist on this project, I am immensely pleased that our collaborative efforts, alongside the remarkable Ensemble PHACE and conductor Simeon Pironkoff, have culminated in this groundbreaking release—the inaugural offering on the PHACE label.

The album kicks off with Bernhard Lang’s “DW 24,” a 2014 composition for saxophone and ensemble. Lang’s signature style, characterized by meticulous attention to sound and timbre, lays the foundation for an immersive auditory experience. “DW 24” unfolds as a dynamic conversation between the saxophone and the ensemble, challenging conventional notions of musical dialogue. The interchange of musical motifs creates a captivating narrative, pushing the boundaries of sonic exploration.

Following this, Ricardo Nillni’s “Concerto liquido” (2013) introduces a fluidity that permeates the sonic landscape. The saxophone, accompanied by the ensemble, assumes a central role in a musical journey characterized by grace and fluidity. Nillni strikes a delicate balance between structure and spontaneity, inviting listeners to navigate the intricate ebb and flow of sonic textures. “Concerto liquido” stands as a testament to the ensemble’s ability to convey emotional depth within a contemporary framework.

Germán Toro-Perez takes the exploration further with “Signos oscilantes” (verworren und schwankend), composed in 2012. This piece marks the integration of electronic elements into the album, seamlessly blending saxophone and electronics. The result is a sonic tapestry that is both intricate and unpredictable. The electronic components serve as dynamic counterparts to the saxophone, expanding the expressive range and propelling the ensemble into uncharted territory. “Signos oscilantes” underscores the album’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional instrumentation.

The title track, “Wrestling Samoa” by Jorge Sánchez-Chiong, introduces a turntable to the ensemble, adding an extra layer of dynamism and experimentation. Composed in 2012, this piece embodies a rhythmic and textural dance between the saxophone, turntable, and ensemble. Sánchez-Chiong’s composition defies categorization, inviting listeners to explore the outer limits of sonic possibility. “Wrestling Samoa” encapsulates the adventurous spirit of the album, pushing the boundaries of conventional ensemble dynamics.

Clocking in at 61 minutes and 29 seconds, the album offers a comprehensive exploration of contemporary sonic landscapes. Each track contributes to a rich and diverse musical tapestry while maintaining a cohesive thread that ties the album together. The collaborative synergy between Ensemble PHACE, the composers, conductor Simeon Pironkoff, and myself as the saxophonist is palpable throughout the recording, creating an immersive and engaging listening experience.


In conclusion, “Wrestling Samoa; Works for Saxophone, Ensemble, Electronics” is a celebration of collaborative exploration in the realm of contemporary classical music. The album serves as a sonic canvas where composers, performers, and electronic elements converge to create a tapestry of sound that transcends traditional boundaries. As we unveil this album on the PHACE label, I am excited to invite listeners to join us on this sonic odyssey. Together, let us revel in the limitless possibilities that arise when artistic minds come together in a spirit of creative exploration. This album stands not just as a collection of compositions but as a testament to the power of collaboration, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary music.

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