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Niels Peter JENSEN (1802-1846)
Duos for two Flutes
Duo in E minor, Op. 11, No. 2 [16:53]
Duo in D Major, Op. 4, No. 1 [18:45]
Duo in F Major, Op. 4, No. 3 [17:02]
Duo in D minor, Op. 11, No. 3 [20:59]
Rune Most (flute); Marcelo Barboza (flute)
rec. 4-5 June, 2-3 October 2005, Johannes Larson Museet, Keterminde, Denmark
DA CAPO 8.226029 [73:55] 


Niels 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 who’s who. 

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.

Kevin Sutton 

see also Review by Michael Cookson

 

 


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