Lucie Horsch -- Vivaldi. Amsterdam Vivaldi Players. Decca 4830896. [53:00]. International release 7th Oct 2016.
There's no in between with the recorder. It's either a toy in a child's hands or you're an international virtuoso like Marion Verbruggen or Michala Petri. Yet, in Lucie Horsch, we have that rarity. Both. At 17, the Dutch girl already has an enviable reputation as soloist on her instrument. And what other recorder player gets a Decca recording contract while still at school?
Presently, Horsch is a student at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. She has an assured technique paired with outstanding musicianship and musicality. Her playing is so good, it invites comparison with the best recorder players such as the two ladies mentioned above. Horsch matches both for technique and musicality.
The CD begins on the up. Up being Vivaldi's famous Concerto in C. In modern guise, piccoloists have snatched the concerto for themselves in a world where piccolo repertoire is pretty thin. Horsch plays the heck out of it with rock solid rhythm and flawless technique. Her ornaments are very tasteful. Intonation, problematic with some players, is also spot on.
Horsch includes a lovely performance of the C Minor Recorder Concerto but then does some snatching herself -- into famous flute repertoire. Specifically, Vivaldi's great Opus 10. The set of six concertos he wrote for his orphaned girls at the Venetian school where he taught. They must have been very proficient players.
Horsch hijacks them well -- they sound written for her instrument. She includes the two most famous concertos, La Tempesta di Mare and La Notte (Storm at Sea and Night). Technically, both concertos are very challenging. Horsch eats them up as if a mere bagatelle. Very impressive.
Not content with stealing flute repertoire, Horsch ‘borrows’ from The Four Seasons. A pleasant arrangement of the Spring’s opening movement makes for a nice ending to a pretty spectacular debut. It will be nice to hear Horsch’s follow up albums. Maybe Handel or Bach. Something she can really sink her teeth into.
Throughout, Horsch is accompanied in lock step by the Amsterdam Vivaldi Players. And the recording is exemplary, meaning it would pass an discerning audiophile's scrutiny. It's dynamic, with very good bass and captures Horsch's recorder in its sparkling beauty. Very highly recommended.
Flautino Concerto in C major, RV443
Recorder Concerto in C minor, RV441
Nisi Dominus (Psalm 126), RV608: Cum dederit transcribed for recorder
Flute Concerto, Op. 10 No. 1 in F major, RV 433 'La tempesta di mare'
Concerto for 2 Mandolins in G major, RV 532: 2nd movement, Andante
Flute Concerto, Op. 10 No. 2 in G minor, RV 439 'La notte'
Vedro con mio diletto (from Giustino) transcribed for recorder
The Four Seasons: Spring, RV269 (1st movement)