Vivaldi: debut Decca recording from seventeen year-old Dutch recorder superstar

Just a children’s instrument? Only for learning on? Merely a toy? These are just a few of the challenging (and wildly erroneous) misconceptions surrounding the recorder. At the age of just seventeen, Dutch recorder champion Lucie Horsch has made it her life’s mission to demolish them, both by her dazzling, sophisticated performances and tireless ambassadorial work.


Vivaldi, Lucie’s superb Decca debut recording, launches her crusade to have the recorder take centre stage. For the first time in many years a major label is positioning the recorder in the league of other great solo instruments, and Decca is thrilled to have discovered such a talented and passionate young advocate for the instrument. The recording contains four concertos, including the haunting and atmospheric La notte (‘Night’ RV 439) and the evocative Tempesta di mare (‘Storm at sea’, RV 433). These appear alongside transcriptions of some of the composer’s most seductive melodies, including ‘Cum dederit’ from Nisi Dominus and the aria ‘Vedrò con mio diletto’ from the opera Giustino. A bonus is the first movement of ‘Spring’ from The Four Seasons transcribed in 1775 by composer-philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


Vivaldi is one of the greatest of all composers for the recorder, and Lucie has long had a deep love of his music. ‘It’s rhythmical, light, energetic. And his slow movements are utterly beautiful,’ she says. She is accompanied by the Amsterdam Vivaldi Players, an ensemble hand-picked by Lucie’s father Gregor Horsch, the principal cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, who also performs in the ensemble.


After beginning recorder lessons at the age of five (‘I immediately fell in love with the pure, authentic sound – it’s so beautiful and vulnerable’), Lucie’s remarkable talent was quickly recognised and rewarded. In 2014 she was chosen to represent Holland in the Eurovision Young Musician Final in Cologne, performing Vivaldi’s Concerto per flautino (RV 443) in the final. As a result of this appearance she was invited to perform with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in Canada, and in the Norsjø Chamber Music Festival in Norway. In March 2017 she will make her US debut playing Vivaldi with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  She has also performed in Austria and Switzerland, and was guest at Janine Jansen’s International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht. Lucie was also chosen to perform in the televised farewell concert for the former Queen Beatrix, appearing as a soloist with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. In 2015 she won the prestigious Concertgebouw Young Talent Award, presented to her by Sir John Eliot Gardner.


The recorder is the first instrument on which over twenty percent of British children have lessons, and it is thus a vital gateway for experiencing music-making. Lucie is passionate to show how much else can be achieved on this beautiful instrument, and to break down some of the ‘underdog’ preconceptions surrounding it.


Dr Alexander Buhr, Managing Director of Decca Classics, says: ‘We are enormously excited to welcome Lucie to the Decca label. She is young and full of energy, and a player of remarkable musicality, virtuosity and poise. We believe Lucie is a perfect ambassador for her instrument, and a wonderful new member of the Decca family.’