Since its premiere in 2006, George Benjamin’s 2006 chamber opera Into the Little Hill has received critically acclaimed performances across the world. 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.
‘…it was the eerie beauty and uncanny originality of the music that made the dominant impression on me. The scoring is remarkable – for a sort of ‘alienated’ folk band … There are passages of ethereal delicacy, silken slowness, but these are contrasted with sudden fierceness, as in Benjamin’s recent orchestral Palimpsests. Bass timbres are beguiling, the tutti sound is at once bizarre and delectable: I wanted more of it.'
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 3 December 2006