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The Little Match Girl Passion is a setting of the Hans Christian Andersen story as influenced by Bach’s St. Mathew’s Passion. At least this is what the composer, David Lang, claims.

The Little Match Girl is a story about a child who is trying to sell matches on the street. She is unsuccessful; it is New Year’s Eve and very cold. She does not think she can go home because her father will beat her for not selling any matches.

She stays out in the cold and lights a match to stay warm as darkness falls. Each match she lights brings a new vision. She has a vision of an enormous feast with a dancing roast goose. She also has visions of a beautiful Christmas tree and her grandmother.

As the little girl freezes to death alone in the darkness, the spirit of her grandmother is there to accompany her to heaven.

Choral group Sacra Profana performed the Pulitzer Prize winning piece at La Jolla Christian Church this last Sunday.

The music is conversational in its phrasing and harmonically complex. Sacra Profana handled the score with confidence and intention. The emotional qualities of the music were true.

Director Krishan Oberoi conducted as various singers played bells, chimes, and percussion when the score called for them.

This is a piece of music that “pays off”. Contemporary compositions tend to remain distant and esoteric. The Little Match Girl Passion does not keep the audience confounded but brings us in to experience the little girl’s world.

San Diego is fortunate to have a group like Sacra Profana bringing us new music that is of high quality. There’s a lot of new music out there. Finding the good stuff? That’s the trick.

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Comments

smashton April 6, 2012 @ 2:18 p.m.

The concert went very well, and I do love how we have this group in San Diego. The music was so emotional, and it was very much brought out through the affect of the choir. Keep following them, reader!

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jericho225 April 6, 2012 @ 2:21 p.m.

Great piece, great ensemble. It'd be cool to see a video of them on here next time :-)

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Molly K April 6, 2012 @ 2:40 p.m.

The concert was amazing. Sacra/Profana was on their game and delivered the work artistically. My only complaint is that the conductor explained his interpretation of a musical devise used in the piece at the beginning and then again at the end. Spoiler alert! Don't tell the audience what is going to happen at the end! Let the art speak for itself and talk about your interpretations at the after party.

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eatlasagna April 6, 2012 @ 3:33 p.m.

Sacra Profana can add another successful and wonderful performance to their list. I have seen several performances of this group and they never fail to deliver the goods. Every member of this choir is talented and the conductor always picks pieces which showcases the best the group has to offer and their rendition was The Little Match Girl was perfect. Can't wait for their next concert.

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younglady April 6, 2012 @ 4:31 p.m.

WONDERFUL concert! This group really puts their all in to each work they perform and that was most clear in the performance of this work. I am very, very excited for their next concert and I definitely going to buy their debut CD when it comes out.

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southkensington56 April 6, 2012 @ 11:18 p.m.

I saw Sacra Profana's first concert in 2009 and have been to many of their performances since then. Little Match Girl is one of Sacra Profana's boldest concerts to date. Hats off to the group's Artistic Director and singers. Don't forget this group's name, San Diego...Sacra Profana is a (musical) phenomenon in the making!

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msparaco April 7, 2012 @ 12:16 p.m.

Very cool performance. Not what I was expecting at all. David Lang is an absolutly brilliant composer and this group was perfect for this piece. It was at times delicate, and other times full and strong. What a way to juxtipocatationize the story of the little match girl with Bach's masterpiece! What a moving musical experience. Bravi tutti!

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