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The Space Between Us Ida Toninato, Jennifer Thiessen

  • SODEC

Prix Opus 2017-18: Album de l’année — Finaliste

This duo music is an intimate, intense gaze between two contrasting characters., Listening to the opposing timbres and tendencies of our individual instruments, we, shape the space between us. In the circulation of our sound, we find common tones, and construct our music from this shared resonance and silence. This music is our, ongoing private conversation.

— Ida and Jennifer

The Space Between Us

Ida Toninato, Jennifer Thiessen

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In the Press

  • Zdeněk Slabý, His Voice, October 1, 2018
  • Ken Waxman, The WholeNote, no. 24:1, September 1, 2018
    Although the CD is titled The Space Between Us, the profound musical connection established by Thiessen and Toninato confirms that this gap is minimal at best.
  • Joël Pagier, Revue & Corrigée, no. 116, June 1, 2018
    Ida Toninato use du baryton comme d’un archet sur le vent, quand Jennifer Thiessen exprime de l’alto la pureté d’un souffle saisi au bord des lèvres.
  • Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 1133, May 14, 2018
    A very inspired and moving meeting by these two musicians and their instruments.
  • Stef, The Free Jazz Collective, April 1, 2018
    The whole album is solid and with a clear central vision on their music: coherent, beautifully performed and with a unique sound. ****

Review

Ken Waxman, The WholeNote, no. 24:1, September 1, 2018
Although the CD is titled The Space Between Us, the profound musical connection established by Thiessen and Toninato confirms that this gap is minimal at best.

Critique

Joël Pagier, Revue & Corrigée, no. 116, June 1, 2018
Ida Toninato use du baryton comme d’un archet sur le vent, quand Jennifer Thiessen exprime de l’alto la pureté d’un souffle saisi au bord des lèvres.

Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 1133, May 14, 2018

Ida Toninato & Jennifer Thiessen are new to me. Thiessen is a violinist playing viola d’amore and viola on this duo effort. She performs classical and contemporary chamber music, as well as improvised music (Michel F Côté, Antoine Berthiaume, a.o.). With dance ensemble La La La Human Steps, she performed works by Gavin Bryars and Bang on a Can composer David Lang. Toninato is a saxophonist, composer and improviser, also from the Montréal scene, participating in Ensemble SuperMusique and Joker. She plays baritone saxophone on this album. Their duo effort is a work of intimate music focusing on the timbres and sound qualities of their instruments. They create beautiful deep resonating, spatial textures. The music develops slowly in a calm way, giving duration to the created interplay of sounds and timbres. Improvisation plays a big role here, but one could call it contemporary new music as well. They don’t just create a musical effect. But their investigation on sound and timbre is hold together by a strong musical vision. Because of the deep sonorities the music brings you in a reflective and meditative state. A very inspired and moving meeting by these two musicians and their instruments.

A very inspired and moving meeting by these two musicians and their instruments.

Review

Stef, The Free Jazz Collective, April 1, 2018

Sometimes we may move towards the fringes of jazz or free improv. This beautiful album is more avant-garde classical, yet nevertheless of posssible interest to the readers of this blog. The musicians are Ida Toninato on baritone sax, hailing from Strasbourg in France, and Jennifer Thiessen, playing viola d’amore, and hailing from Manitoba in Canada.

Thiessen is very active in modern classical music and in baroque music with the ensemble Cénacle, she even if she took some steps into pop music with her band Daily Alice.

Toninato comes from a more experimental background, exploring reverberant spaces with uncommon acoustics, with her solo debut album Strangeness Is Gratitude as a wonderful example of that approach. She also works with Ana Dall’Ara-Majek as Jane/KIN, creating performances that mix spatialisation and improvisation.

Their music is spacious, calm, intense, slowly and cautiously progressing, creating timbres and resonance and pursuing them further as they grow and change. In contrast to even modern classical music, there are no obvious patterns or melodies to discern, but a drone-like shimmering of solemn sounds that explore each other around a space of silence. Despite their differences in background and perspective, both musicians find each other perfectly in the deep and central register of their instruments, which are almost always played with a gentle traditional approach.

On the last track Toninato adds some wordless singing and even if I usually hate this, somehow it works here.

It’s great to hear two young musicians perform in a duo with unusual instruments and coming from different perspectives and continents, and find such a strong common ground and sound. The whole album is solid and with a clear central vision on their music: coherent, beautifully performed and with a unique sound. They find each other in the space between them, and they delight us. What more do you want?

The whole album is solid and with a clear central vision on their music: coherent, beautifully performed and with a unique sound. ****

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