A second recording of George Benjamin’s 2006 chamber opera Into the Little Hill has been awarded the Diapason d’Or. Benjamin conducts Hila Plitmann, Susan Bickley and the London Sinfonietta. A lyric tale in two parts for soprano, contralto and ensemble of 15 players (coloured by bass flute, two bassset horns, mandolin, banjo and cimbalom), this strange retelling of the Pied Piper story was Benjamin’s first collaboration with Martin Crimp.
The disc, released on Nimbus, also features the London Sinfonietta’s Principal Flautist Michael Cox playing Benjamin’s Flight, and another opportunity to hear the world premiere recording of Dream of the Song, with Benjamin conducting Bejun Mehta, the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
2018 will see performances of Into the Little Hill in both Utrecht, with Ensemble Insomnio conducted by Ulrich Pohl, and in Munich, with the Munich Chamber Orchestra under Clemens Schuldt.
‘Plitmann and Bickley evince drama and intimacy aplenty in their multiple roles and Benjamin draws a superfine response from the London Sinfonietta… fastidious scoring.’
Gramophone (Richard Whitehouse), July 2017
‘This second recording of Benjamin and Crimp’s exceptionally concise reimagining is even tauter and a shade harder edged… First rate, conveying the power of this ancient tale that holds up an unforgiving mirror to contemporary society.’
BBC Music Magazine (Christopher Dingle), July 2017