Notes & Reviews:
The Ensemble Phoenix Basel was founded in 1998 by Basel conductor and pianist Jörg Henneberger, flutist Christoph Bösch and percussionist Daniel Buess. Right from the start, this highly versatile orchestra for contemporary music had a significant impact on the cultural scene of its home city. Today, it is one of the most important groups of its kind in Switzerland and has also gained an international reputation. The number of musicians on stage can range from two to almost thirty, making the ensemble ideally suited for performing the works of contemporary composers. This might be fairly common practice in companies these days, but what gives the Ensemble Phoenix Basel its unique edge is how it incorporates and is driven by, the impulses and preferences of its individual members.
American Record Guide, March/April 2015
There are two works with the title Pranam, both written for small chamber ensembles. 1 (1972), for alto, 12 instruments, and tape recorder, is dedicated to the memory of Jani & Sia Christou, neither of whom are identified in the notes. Khoom (1962) is earlier. Mysteriously subtitled "7 episodes of a love story, and death is not written in a distant country", it is scored for soprano, horn, string quartet, and two percussionists. Riti (Rites): The Funerals of Alessandro Magno (323 a. J.C.) (1962), a "funeral march", is for the particularly grotesque combination of electronic organ, contrabassoon, tuba, contrabass, and percussion. Mournful, elephantine gestures are treated with surprising rhythmic vitality. Okhanagon (1968), for harp, tam-tam, and contrabass, "must be considered as a ritual and, if you like, as the heartbeat of the earth", according to the composer.