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the little match girl passion / stabat mater
Saturday 24th March 2018 - Queen's College Chapel
David Lang's little match girl passion, inspired by the eponymous Hans Christian Andersen tale, re-contextualises the story as a passion narrative, drawing a religious and moral equivalency between the suffering of the poor girl and Christ on the cross. Just as traditional musical settings of the passion can include texts other than the story itself, so too does Lang's work - incorporating the responses of the crowd and other characters, with additional text from Bach's librettist and the Gospel of St Matthew.
Agostino Steffani's 1728 setting of the Stabat Mater text takes up the narrative where the little match girl ends, portraying Mary's suffering during the passion, at the foot of the cross. Richly scored for 6 voices and orchestra, it captures the inherent drama of the text with a poignancy that makes it at least the equal of the better-known setting by Pergolesi.