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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Multitalented Lucie Horsch, who has performed once before in the past in the side-programming of the International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht, makes her real festival debut during this anniversary edition with two concerts: tonight with her own programme ‘Origins’ in Cloud Nine, and tomorrow during the Church Marathon in the Pieterskerk with a few other festival musicians.

Lucie Horsch is honoured to be a guest during Janine Jansen’s festival. Moreover, the informal formula of the Late Night Concert fits perfectly with the ever slightly different programme Origins, an exciting mix of traditional folk music and works by well-known composers who were inspired by folk music. For the album of the same name released last year by Decca, she received the Edison Klassiek Publieksprijs 2023 last September. For this CD recording, she collaborated with somewhat larger ensembles such as Fuse and LUDWIG, but she also developed a more intimate version together with violinist Emmy Storms and guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre. Lucie: ‘The atmosphere during the Late Night Concert is relaxed, the listeners have just heard a serious concert in the Grote Zaal in TivoliVredenburg, now they can enjoy an accessible programme with a drink in their hand, and those who are in the mood move or sing along.’

The occasion for making the programme Origins suitable for a small ensemble was an invitation from the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, followed by concerts in Milan, among other places, and next year in Vienna, for instance. Lucie immediately thought of the versatile violinist Emmy Storms, who has a great passion for Irish folk music and is very easy at ‘just adding a second voice, or just adding a bass line’. Lucie herself brings a large collection of recorders and for the harmony part she was looking for a guitarist. When Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe (who collaborated on the Origins album) couldn’t make it, the festival in Dresden recommended French guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre. A golden tip according to Lucie, who was very impressed by his virtuoso guitar playing. ‘As a classical guitarist, he does like to have all the notes written out on paper, so we had arrangements made for guitar, for instance by Marijn van Prooijen.’ As on the CD, Lucie also made many arrangements herself, and when they rehearsed together for the first time, they also changed a lot of things. Moreover, they also kept coming across new pieces that they thought also fitted well with this programme.

Together with the audience, the musicians take a musical journey through time, from traditional folk music from Ireland, Serbia and Venezuela to the Romanian folk dances and duets of Hungarian Béla Bartók, and from baroque music by Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi to swinging tangos by Argentinian Astor Piazzolla. This creates a colourful collection of traditional folk music and works by well-known composers who have been inspired by folk music. It is not necessary for listeners to know exactly who all these composers are and when exactly these pieces were written, rather the aim is for everyone to listen to this concert with an open mind. The musicians will then take the audience by the hand through all these different traditions and cultures. It may seem like a crazy mix of genres, but as you listen, you will notice that the distance you have to cover is not so great at all, it almost comes naturally. All those different folk melodies are very accessible and speak directly to the heart, regardless of the culture in which they originated. For variation in timbre, the three musicians play in constantly changing line-ups. In addition to the arrangements for recorder, violin and guitar, there are, for instance, duets for recorder and violin by Béla Bartók (originally for two violins), Divisons on a Ground by Thomas Tollett is for recorder and guitar, Lucie plays a short intermezzo by Igor Stravinsky for solo recorder (originally for clarinet) and Astor Pizzolla’s tango is for violin and guitar. ‘While making music, we leave each other quite free. We let each other inspire us and we take quite a few risks.’ If all goes well, there will also be a bonus number at the end of the Late Night Concert with another musician as guest of honour, but that remains a surprise.