“At the Inn” Pt. 1 of 4


This year, Utah Chamber Artists is looking forward to sharing two stories that are often told at Christmas time.

One is the well-known scriptural narrative of the life of Jesus Christ set to music by George Frideric Handel.  In “Messiah,” we follow his life through his humble beginnings to his wretched and heartbreaking death.

The other is “The Little Match Girl”, a beloved story by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. The young match seller also comes from humble beginnings and suffers a premature and tragic death.


One of the things artists, musicians, dancers, and writers do best is tell stories and express ideas in a new and fresh way that intensifies profound lessons that might have lost their impact or even become meaningless after repeated retellings.

David Lang does this very thing in “the little match girl passion” for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Lang is Jewish and as a musician he couldn’t help but be impacted by the influence of Christianity on the music of Western Civilization. He set out to universalize Jesus’ suffering by telling the “Passion” (suffering) story focusing on someone else’s pain. His wife suggested Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl.” Lang liked the idea and decided to use the little girl as his central figure. Composed in a post-minimalist style, his piece is unique in its perspective and remarkably touching in its emotional impact.

On the 10th anniversary of “the little match girl passion” winning the Pulitzer Prize, Utah Chamber Artists wishes to share Lang’s extraordinary musical creation with our Utah audiences.  We will present “the little match girl passion” and several choruses of Handel’s “Messiah” on December 3, 2018 as we consider the profound messages of this holiday season.

Next week:
In Part II we will explore how David Lang was inspired by J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion as he composed “the little match girl passion”.