NPR logo 'Little Match Girl' and 'Nightingale'

'Little Match Girl' and 'Nightingale'

Hear 'The Little Match Girl Overture' and 'Song of the Nightingale'

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A group of children waiting for a story reading sit on the statue of Hans Christian Andersen in New York's Central Park, circa 1955. Jacobsen/Three Lions/Getty Images hide caption

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A group of children waiting for a story reading sit on the statue of Hans Christian Andersen in New York's Central Park, circa 1955.

Jacobsen/Three Lions/Getty Images

Let's begin at the beginning. As a boy, Hans Christian Andersen was a fine singer. Every summer night, he would improvise songs while the neighbors listened. He was even called the "little nighingale."

Andersen's story "The Little Match Girl" inspired the Little Match Girl Overture, by Danish composer August Enna. And "The Nightingale" was interpreted by Igor Stravinsky in "Song of the Nightingale."