Recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, David Lang’s the little match girl passion retells the classic Hans Christian Andersen story about a forlorn girl, cold from winter and without food or shelter. Attempting to stay warm, she lights the matches she had hoped to sell while dreaming of warm Christmas feasts and recalling memories of her kind grandmother. Lang’s contemporary, minimalist style, paired with our protagonist’s story, will undoubtedly prove heart-wrenching and poignant.
According to Valley 7 member, W. Bryce Hayes, “Having recently won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, the little match girl passion is very popular with contemporary music ensembles. The marriage of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale with texts borrowed from Bach makes for a unique contribution to the repertory, successfully bridging the gap between the sacred and the profane, sometimes referred to as ‘secular transcendence.’ The Lang has presented The Valley 7 with new challenges in our brief history. The work is less about beautiful arching phrases, matching vowel color, or consistent intonation as our forays into Tallis or Messiaen require. TLMGP is far more about becoming powerfully rhythmic performers and learning how to utilize the voice in a minimalist setting. Singing the same melodic phrase over several minutes presents interesting challenges in maintaining vocal health and utilizing our voices consistently. In addition to the technical challenges, the little match girl passion has encouraged us to grow as collaborative musicians. The nuanced listening this work calls for requires each member of the ensemble to be consistently in tune with each other, in a way far beyond typical choral music. Not to mention that we all are learning how to be percussionists! Virtually all of the Valley 7 will play percussion during the performance. We are very much enjoying learning more about ourselves and our process through the Lang. We look forward to bringing this work to the public on May 15.”
For this performance, The Valley 7 is glad to welcome Laurel Black, a marimba player of considerable talent, who will perform before we take you through the Little Match Girl’s harrowing narrative.