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David Lang Mash-up Makes U.S. Debut

David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion made its U.S. debut at the Jerome L. Greene Space. The New York Virtuoso Singers performed the choral version Sunday night.

Lang has been a fixture on the downtown music scene for quite some time. He’s a co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s new music ensemble, Bang On A Can.

Lang’s latest piece is award-winning, but the story itself is a downer. "Passion" tells the story of a little girl from a rough home who sells matches on the street to try and get by. Instead of getting by, she freezes to death.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Lang based it on the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Little Match Girl and set it to the format of Bach's "Saint Matthew Passion." How very Girl Talk of him.

And Lang admits to stealing chunks of Bach and Andersen to create his own masterpiece. WNYC’s John Schaefer talked to him about the music and those borrowed elements.