Das kleine Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern
"Das kleine Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern" (The little match-girl) is a famous short story by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. It has inspired many artists. For me this little match girl stands for all poor and neglected girls in the world, and I tried to create a trilogy musical story with three pieces in contemporary classical piano style.
"On a cold New Year's Eve, a poor girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and early hypothermia. Still she is afraid to go home because her father will beat her for not selling any matches. She shelters in a nook and sits down, sitting down accelerates hypothermia.
The girl lights the matches to warm herself, in their glow, she sees several lovely visions including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. All four visions can be seen as hallucinations due to hypothermia but Andersen likely meant the last vision at least to be real. The girl looks skyward and sees a shooting star, then she remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to Heaven, this is an old folklore belief. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. Many near-death experiences include visions or hallucinations of people now dead. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive for as long as she can.
Running out of matches, the child dies and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead in the nook and take pity on her. They do not know about her visions. Andersen saw this as a happy ending because in Heaven the girl would no longer be hungry, cold or abused."
Booklet with all Scores / Sheet music for free download:
(Please "click" on the picture below to open the PDF booklet)