Peter Jensen was born into poverty and at the age of ten lost
his sight as a result of an eye infection. Had it not been for
the founding of a charitable school for the blind in 1811, Jensen’s
remarkable musical talents might never have been discovered
as his parents had no means to educate him. Although originally
sent to school to learn a practical trade, his musical abilities
were soon discovered and he was trained as a flutist and organist.
In later life he would become the first blind organist in Denmark to be appointed to a major position.
He would later go on to teach some of Denmark’s more prominent musicians including
J.P.E. Hartmann. He died relatively young and Hartmann, by then
famous, helped to arrange financial stability for the composer’s
widow and child.
Jensen left behind a number of works, including
a significant flute concerto, keyboard works and chamber music
in addition to the flute duets heard here. It is difficult to
date the music because of the haphazard way in which is was
written down and published, but there are at least twenty-five
works that received opus numbers.
The duos here are laid out much like classical
piano sonatas, with an opening allegro in sonata form, followed
by a slow movement and concluding with a rondo. They are tuneful
and idiomatic, and special attention is paid to the equality
of both players. Taken individually, these works are delightful
to hear, although I found my ears growing weary of seventy-plus
minutes of a single timbre. They display masterful craftsmanship
and originality, and in spite of their obvious indebtedness
to the classical sonata, there is never a sense of mere student-like
imitation in the music. Each duo is full of fresh ideas and
clever turns of musical phrase.
Rune Most and Marcelo Barboza are a fine team
indeed, displaying excellent intonation, a refined sense of
musical structure and line and an obvious esprit de corps. Their
give and take is such that the interchange of lines is seamless
and elegant. Without a score, one would be hard pressed to tell
With the expense of recording large ensembles
so great, lovers of chamber music have had an embarrassment
of riches in recent years, and I never cease to be amazed at
just how much interesting and worthwhile music from distant
sources continues to turn up. This disc will be of particular
interests to flute players and their fans, and for everyone
else, there is much to enjoy. This is perfect music to soothe
the soul or to accompany a meal, a good book or an evening’s
glass of wine.
Jens Cornelius provides one of the best booklet
essays that I have read in years.
see also Review
by Michael Cookson