It’s a tale that felt all-too close at hand in Shoreditch church, itself in a state of damp and disrepair, standing in streets where people are sleeping rough.
But if the evening fell just on the right side of artlessness, one was also aware of the knife-edge performers and venues are on these days. Funding is scarce, ways have to be found to present music on a shoe-string. In the first half of the concert, a bold array of Praetorius, Aichinger and Bach, the five-strong I Fagiolini could have done with more of their regular voices, and would have benefited more from Hollingworth’s direction than his vocal contribution. At times the fiendishly complex motet Jesu meine Freude wavered. The seasonal music sung in Danish – a clever way into Andersen’s tale – glowed, and Lang’s Passion was superbly rendered, but the puppeteer seemed in need of another pair of hands, as he struggled to synchronise his scenes with the music.
Spitalfields Music has a fine tradition of pulling off memorable events with the bare necessities, but an organisation of such vision and professionalism – not to mention the halo of learning projects radiating from it – needs a bigger budget.
Little Match Girl Passion: 21 December Warwick Arts Centre