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Niels Peter JENSEN (1802-1844)
Flute Sonatas: Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 6 (1911) [23:52], From Three Flute Fantasias or Caprices, op.14: No 1 in E minor [8:45], No 3 in F major [8:13], Sonata for Flute and Piano op. 18 (1828) [28:03]
Rune Most (flute); Frode Stengaard (piano)
rec. 29 April, 9 November 2007 and 20 January 2008, Johannes Larsen Museet, Kerteminde, Denmark
DACAPO 8.226054 [69:16]
Experience Classicsonline


Niels Peter Jensen was a composer from the Danish Golden Age who contracted an eye infection as a baby and was completely blind by the age of ten. He received his musical education at The Royal Institution for the Blind and quickly became a successful concert artist. As a flute player himself, he wrote a number of pieces for his own instrument, studying with eminent composers such as Kuhlau, who himself was noted for his flute music.

The op. 6 Sonata, Jensenís first flute sonata, is light and lyrical, composed earlier than Kuhlauís first Sonata - which dates from 1824. The music is relatively uncomplicated, with simple piano textures and flowing lines. Jensenís music has a clear sense of melody and uses the range of the flute well. The Sonata is in the key of F minor, beginning with a march-like theme with the flute balanced well with the piano. The second movement is a lilting waltz, while the third movement further demonstrates Jensenís awareness of expressive lines. The finale is a lively Rondo which runs to a duration of just over seven minutes, balancing the rest of the sonata well.

Written in the mid-1820s, the Three Fantasias or Caprices op. 14 are virtuoso unaccompanied studies for flute which go some way towards telling us of Jensenís skill as a player. Two of the Fantasias are heard here, No. 1 in E minor and No. 3 in F major, both in three movement form. These are enjoyable works which hold the interest of the listener and are played with a wonderful sense of flow and energy. The semiquavers are evenly executed and Rune Most plays with an even tone across the range of the instrument.

The remaining item on this disc is the op. 18 Sonata, composed in 1828. Another long work at almost half an hourís duration, this four movement work is more musically complex than the first sonata, with hints of Romanticism in the writing and a more demanding role for the piano. The lyricism of the earlier Sonata is retained, but with more frequent modulations and a grander sense of scale. Once again in four movement form, the moderately paced 11 minute opening movement is followed by an expressive Adagio. A simple Menuetto ensues, and the piece is brought to a close with an energetic Rondo.

The playing on this disc is excellent. Rune Most has been largely responsible for a renewed interest in Jensenís music through recordings and public performance, and the composer would undoubtedly be happy to have such an excellent player as an advocate for his music. Pianist Frode Stengaard accompanies with sensitivity and a lightness of touch which suits this music well. These two players are a delight to listen to.

Carla Rees


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