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
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.