The Crossing @ Christmas Features World Premiere Of Edie Hill's SPECTRAL SPIRITS And David Lang's TTHE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION

Article Pixel

Grammy-winning new-music choir The Crossing reprises its annual holiday program, The Crossing @ Christmas, at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 7:30pm presented by the Annenberg Center; at The Met Cloisters in New York City on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 12:30pm and 3:30pm; and back in Philadelphia at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill on Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 5:00pm.

The program includes David Lang's Pulitzer-winning the little match girl passion (2008), a work championed by The Crossing and one of the few works they return to repeatedly. Recasting Hans Christian Andersen's tale in the form of a passion, based loosely on the structure and words of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, David Lang draws a religious and moral equivalency between the suffering of the poor girl and the suffering of Jesus. Lang notes "that all its parts-the horror and the beauty-are constantly suffused with their opposites. The girl's bitter present is locked together with the sweetness of her past memories; her poverty is always suffused with her hopefulness. There is a kind of naive equilibrium between suffering and hope."

The Crossing @ Christmas also features the world premiere performances of Spectral Spirits, a major commission from Edie Hill based on poems of Holly Hughes. The new 30-minute work explores the extraordinary beauty and diversity of the natural world found in birds; and it views those birds through a lens of loss and nostalgia. All of the birds in the work once numbered in millions and are now gone.

Hill says, "It's a joy to compose for The Crossing with their one of a kind, grace, precision, vocal athleticism and sublimity of tone. And, their sense of adventure - to explore a world of precious avian creatures lost to us now at our own hands; to live in what I imagined to be, their world and to examine what it is in the human being that loved these birds to death either for beauty, sustenance or pure sport, in an extended work, has been a labor of love. With this piece, I wanted to celebrate these beauties; these birds.The poetry of Holly J. Hughes and her moving book of avian elegies has opened worlds to me and I hope Spectral Spirits might open a window to listeners as well."

Conductor Donald Nally adds, "Edie and I knew we wanted to make a piece about the beauty of our world and the loss we feel as some of it disappears. Her suggestions of Holly Hughes poems and subsequent integration of bits of Thoreau and other naturalists is brilliant; the result is an inspired journey and music that feels strangely close to the extinct creatures about which we sing. We are so grateful for her investment, which is clearly from the heart."

The Crossing @ Christmas
Presented by the Annenberg Center
Friday, December 20, 2019 at 7:30pm
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA

The Crossing @ Christmas
Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 12:30pm and 3:30pm
The Met Cloisters | New York, NY

The Crossing @ Christmas
Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 5:00pm
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | Philadelphia, PA

Edie Hill - Spectral Spirits (World Premiere)
David Lang - the little match girl passion (2008)

The Crossing
Donald Nally, conductor

Related Articles View More Philadelphia Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You