Ken Jackson 3:38 p.m., Oct. 14
Little Match Girl Passion: Sacra Profana
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.