Duo Baars-Henneman

They wrote…….

Roger Parry, Liverpool march 1 2007

Thank you so much for your recent CD which, of course, I have been listening to with a great deal of thrills and excitement since I received it.  Your artistic exploration removes the boundary between the traditions and creativity. It brings  freedoms into existence in perfect harmony with the richness of life. What an intensive yet so sensitive music you create and play ! Takeo Yamashiro, Vancouver february 14 2007

Today the CD was on the doorstep -- it's been on for hours now. I am glad that I do not have to write about music because if I had to jot down all the things I see and think... It is unequaled. I feel privileged. Janneke Vonkeman, Amsterdam october 17 2006

You asked if I "liked" the music, separate from what I wrote. Very much.
For one thing, I like the reduced instrumentation, two "single line" instruments. I like counterpoint, and the ways you create a dramatic setting without the usual chordal accompaniment. Several of the solutions you used, usually involving a thinning and thickening of lines, I often relate to in visual ways.  A duo like this of course fits into the undefined area between classical and jazz, which I¹m also interested in. Also, I liked the open improvisational process, melodic but with surprising curves and textures that define the drama. And I appreciate brevity. Art Lange, Chicago september 27 2006

(…) But, while Baars is a game foil for the whimsical and occasionally broad humor of Circus (ICP045), his own music, of which the color-rich duets of Stof are only partly representative, is pretty serious fare. This is not to suggest the composer/woodwind player is humorless, but that Baars favors pith over japes and rarely plays for more than a knowing smile. His oft-cited Webster-like tone on tenor stops well short of garrulousness when Bennink kicks into shuffle mode and his quavering post-Ayler deformations are pointedly unecstatic when violist Ig Henneman stirs undercurrents of texture and rhythm. Something of the same applies to his clarinet playing; on Circus, his high notes have a Carteresque edge, while on “Stof,” they project a super-heated classicism. His flute playing – be it on a standard instrument, shakuhachi or noh-kan – has a refreshing lightness and lucidity. Hearing Circus and Stof in tandem illuminates connections between the Fluxus via jazz approach personified by Misha Mengelberg, whose notional playing is noticeably blithe in proximity to the radiant Patrucco, and the compositional trajectory established by Louis Andriessen and extended by Maarten Altena and now Henneman and a few others.

In her duos with Baars, it becomes plain that the viola is central to Henneman’s compositional sensibility. An instrument that can suggest the depths of a cello and has some of the violin’s loft, the viola has specific utility. In the past, Henneman has ingeniously used this chameleon-like aspect of the instrument in her music for string quartet (also documented on Wig CDs). This is complemented by the tone of the instrument, which lacks the sweetness of the violin at its high end or the swoon-inducing affect of the cello’s mid and low register. The viola is the perfect cornerstone for Henneman’s penchant for initiating compositions and improvisations with what proves to be a cohering texture. “Whirligig,” her solo piece on Stof is a casebook example of how Henneman uses finely calibrated, if seemingly skittering bow technique to build a sturdy piece based on permutated rhythm and color. Henneman also knows how to extract the dramatic implications of initially astringent thematic materials. Such is the case with the title composition of the duo album, an elegy for her sister.
Bill Shoemaker www.pointofdeparture.org Issue 9 - January 2007 Point of Departure: an online music journal

Il ben rodato duo fra gli olandesi Ab Baars e Ig Henneman giunge a licenziare il primo documento discografico, basato su libere improvvisazioni che, soprattutto in due brani, includono dei temi scritti, o meglio delle tracce predeterminate.

Si tratta di un percorso fatto di gesti sonori minimali, isolati, in diversi rapporti di dipendenza fra di loro; un percorso alla ricerca di una dimensione introversa, di un dialogo intimo, a tratti più pensato che parlato. Prevalgono quindi le ricercatezze timbriche: squittii, sospiri, soffi, strozzature, flebili frasi melodiche, rimasticazioni, insistenze, sospensioni, reticenze...    (…)

Libero Farnè  Allaboutjazzitaly 29-12-2006

(…) Check the almost rural melody painted by the noh-kan, with a raw-sounding viola opposing it, in Tackety Dancing Shoes. Or the many registers of the tenor, and the viola forming mournful airs, in Violetto Rossastro. The hushed tones of the shakuachi in Giallo di Napoli. The track for viola solo, Whirligig, where some thematic variations are quite easy to perceive, and where there is a beautiful musical episode with long, held notes with vibrato before the theme at the end. Or Ruby Slippers, chamber-like with clarinet, one of the pieces I liked the best on the CD. The strong, repeated, rhythmic figures by the viola, played pizzicato, and the "cool" tenor sax, blown, in Castle Walk In Herringbone Suit. The homage to Stravinsky (I suppose!) in Igor's Bransle. The meditative and microtonal Grigio Perla Per Noguchi. Or the ever-changing long track, Stof - To Eiske, which has its start in the body of the viola being hit and arrives at a point where the viola gives pedal points to a "cool" clarinet sounding quite Ellington-like.

Beppe Colli  CloudsandClocks.net| Catania (I) Jan. 7, 2007

Zoals hoestekstschrijver Art Lange meldt, heeft de titel van deze cd twee betekenissen. Allereerst is er die van ‘materiaal’ of ‘textiel’, want het titelnummer is opgedragen aan Ig Hennemans overleden zus Eiske, die kledingontwerper was. Daarnaast is er ook de betekenis van ‘massa van droge deeltjes’ (aldus Van Dale). Beide betekenissen komen in de muziek van dit duo naar voren. Er wordt gespeeld met (deels) voorgecomponeerd materiaal, en de doorwerking daarvan heeft iets tastbaars, iets grofstoffelijks. Ig en Ab verzandden nooit in mooispelerij, maar blijven eerlijk en authentiek op zoek naar nieuwe klanken. Het stof van de droge deeltjes is er in het geluid dat Baars (met name) uit z’n tenorsax haalt. Met z’n onnavolgbare, hese vibrato lijkt hij z’n toeter soms te schuren, en wat hij produceert, schuurt ook de ziel. Af en toe klinkt het voor de luisteraar ongemakkelijk, maar wie doorzet, komt gelouterd uit het luisterproces.

Bijzonder is hoe zijn klanken de streken op Ig Hennemans altviool benaderen. Zij  kan trouwens door consequent een motiefje te herhalen op den duur ook ontroering opwekken - niet door sentimentaliteit, maar door diepgang in de emotie te zoeken. En dat gaat niet altijd gepaard met de mooiste klanken. Die zijn overigens niet volkomen uitgebannen. Ze zijn bijvoorbeeld aanwezig in het coloriet van het Messiaen-achtige ‘Ruby Slippers’, de Ellingtoniaanse klarinet in het titelstuk, of de tedere shakuhachi (een Japanse bamboefluit) die Ab bespeelt in ‘Giallo di Napoli’. Dat instrument is nieuw in Baars’ instrumentarium, en past naadloos bij het hese geluid dat hij uit z’n tenor haalt.

Herman te Loo  Jazzflits 19  10-12-2006