BENTZON, J.: Chamber Music
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J?©rgenBentzon had his inrernarional breakthrough as a composer with Sonatine pour fl??te, clarinette et basson
Op, 7. The work was composed in May-August 1924 and was given its firstperformance at the society Dansk Koncert-Forening on 25th February 1925. It isdedicated to the Danish Wind Quintet, also known as the Wind Quintet of 1921,and the first performance was played by three of the musicians of the quintet:Holger Gilbert-Jespersen, flute; Aage Oxenvad, clarinet; and Knud Lassen,bassoon - all at the time also members of the Royal Danish Orchestra. It wasthe same musicians who in 1927 performed the sonatina at the ISCM World Music Daysin Frankfurt am Main, where it aroused deserved attention. The three movementsof the sonatina are simple in their structure: the first movement is in sonataform, the second in ABA
form, and the final and third movement is a regular rondo with a coda based on themain theme of the movement. The strong ties with Classical theory of form arealso evident in the texture, which is highly polyphonic and also exhibits manymelodic sequences. The two-bar structure that is particularly frequent in thefinal movement gives the work a certain mosaic-like character. One strongunifying element in the sonatina is the emphasis on the interval of a fourth.
Divertimento in One Movement
for violin, viola and violoncelloOp. 2 is from the spring of 1921 and was first performed at a pupils' concertat the Royal DanishAcademy
of Music in Copenhagen
June the sameyear. This trio movement shows the clear influence of Benrzon's teacher CarlNielsen and exhibits an opulent sonority that Bentzon was soon to abandon for apersonal succinct idiom. In the summer of 1921 Bentzon composed another trio movement,which was performed in 1922 along with the divertimento. But probably becauseof the stylistic differences, as pointed out by Morten Topp, the idea of a fullstring trio was abandoned and ever since the divertimento movement has formedthe whole of opus 2.
The Intermezzo Op. 24 for violin andclarinet is dedicated to the German composer and music teacher Ernst-Lothar vonKnort, who was deeply involved in the mid-1920s in the German Volksmusikschulemovement, and whom Bentzon had met in Heidelberg
1927 inconnection with his participation in the above-mentioned ISCM festival inFrankfurt am Main
. The Intermezzo was begun inthe autumn of 1933 and is end-dated 7th January 1934. It was first performed atthe society Det Unge Tonekunstnerselskab on 26th October 1934 by Gerhard Rafn,violin, and Aage Oxenvad, clarinet. The composition is a typical example of Bentzon'surge to let the instruments express themselves in keeping with their own naturalsonorities and as such is a fine example of his character polyphony.
Mikrofoni No. l Op. 44 must have beenconceived, as the numbering suggests, as the first chamber music work in aseries. It is distinctive both in the ensemble, consisting of a baritone, flute,violin, cello and piano, and in the choice of text, that is the short verse linesprobably written by Bentzon himself. MikrofoniNo. 1 was finished on 9th October 1939 and is dedicated to the composer'swife, Karen Bentzon.
Bentzon's Variazioni interrotti Op. 12 wascomposed in 1925-26 and dedicated to Poul Schierbeck. The work, which combinestwo woodwinds (clarinet and bassoon) with a stting trio, was first performed ata composition evening on 16th Match 1927 by Aage Oxenvad, Knud Lassen, GerhardRafn, Axel J?©rgensen and Paulus Bache. J?©rgen Bentzon's close friend Finn H?©ffdingwrote as follows in an article in the periodical Musik in 1967 about Variazioniinterrotti: "The title of the work refers to the fact that the suite ofvariations, after the ninth variation with its waning additions, leads to aninterruption that brings an independent, contrasting middle section where thestring trio plays alone for a long period. The clarinet only enters at thepoint where the string trio begins to exhibit features that recall the motion ofthe theme; the bassoon only participates towards the end of the contrastingsection at a dynamic peak with the full-sounding low B flat forte fortissimo(the other instruments only have forte) to announce the turning-point thatushers in the resumption of the theme and a new, expanded set of variationsthat end in a coda combining elements of the theme with elements from thecontrasting section in shifting tempi. The theme, which enters solo in theclarinet, is a stroke of serendipity in its roundedness and pithiness."