The Little Match Girl Passion
David Lang’s Pulitzer prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion takes Hans Christian Andersen’s dark tale – almost too despairing to be a children’s story – and views it through the lens of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, weaving its narrative of suffering and hope with commentary and reflections that heighten its emotional impact.
“There is no Bach in this piece,” says Lang, “and there is no Jesus.” Instead he substitutes the suffering of the Little Match Girl for Jesus’ suffering, “elevating her sorrow to a higher plane”.
Musically, The Little Match Girl Passion combines the clarity of unaccompanied voices with the antique aura of bells and drums, building a haunting sound world from the simplest of means. It’s impossible to hear this breathtaking music – this passion for our time – and be left unmoved. It will be complemented by music for choir and piano by Australian composers Luke Byrne and Naomi Crellin.
Luke BYRNE Four Songs from Grimm’s
Luke BYRNE The Six Swans
Naomi CRELLIN New Work*
David LANG The Little Match Girl Passion
Elizabeth Scott conductor
Luke Byrne piano
Presented by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs