The Sunday Times

ĎBenjaminís first opera is strikingly compressed: 37 minutes, with two singers taking all roles in this complexly allegorical adaptation of the Pied Piper story. The vocal writing, necessarily virtuosic, is stylishly realised here. The writing for 15 players is endlessly interesting, not least because of the sonorities available from instruments such as bass flute, basset horn, contrabass clarinet, mandolin and cimbalom.'
Nimbus Records NI 5828
A lyric tale in two parts
for soprano, contralto and ensemble of 15 players
Text by Martin Crimp

The Cast

Anu Komsi - The Crowd, The Stranger, Narrator,
The Ministerís Child
Hilary Summers - The Crowd, Narrator, The Minister,
The Ministerís Wife

Ensemble Modern
Franck Ollu - conductor
'Martin Crimp's concise text, made even more concise by Benjamin's omissions (shown in the admirably detailed booklet) shapes a version of the Pied Piper story to highlight contemporary anxieties about fragile political and social structures. But fragile is exactly what Benjamin's music is not. The drama's rituals are far from reassuring, and the music's eerie colours (comets, bassethorns, cimbalom) are the stuff of rat-infested nightmare. As always with Benjamin at his best, sonic refinement and formal lucidity lay the foundations for a uniquely involving musical experience... this unsettling piece exerts a vice-like grip. This is an outstanding release.'

The Guardian
'... it keeps its theatrical trappings pared to a minimum. Just two singers, a soprano and a contralto, are required to unfold Martin Crimp's acerbic updating of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin; they take six roles between them and combine to provide the linking narration, all underpinned by an ensemble of just 15 players. It is an exquisite piece, full of beguiling sounds, and retains all that magic in this recording, with the original pair of soloists, Anu Komsi and Hilary Summers.'