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My Dear Benjamin

Conductor Paul Kildea
Tenor Andrew Goodwin
Saxophone Michael Duke

Britten Simple Symphony Op.4
Britten Johnson over Jordan Suite
Chan My Dear Benjamin - Serenade for Tenor, Saxophone and Orchestra

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"The one person constantly in my thoughts and on my mind without fail was you. No one else occupied my heart, my mind or my body.”

The great English composer Benjamin Britten's first love was a young German man named Wulff Scherchen. This idyllic relationship was shattered by World War II when Wulff was incarcerated as a Prisoner of War. The heartbreaking letters during their separation chart an intense relationship, as expressed above.

Composer Lyle Chan discovered this story via the ground-breaking book and film Britten's Children by British author and filmmaker John Bridcut. Upon exploring further, Chan learned Wulff Scherchen was alive and living in northern New South Wales with his wife of over 70 years under the name of John Woolford, which he had assumed after his release from enemy alien internment in 1941. Wulff consented to have these letters brought to life in a beautiful new song cycle by Lyle Chan featuring the musical symbol of him that Britten himself used – a saxophone. Scherchen passed away in August 2016 at the age of 96.

This concert is dedicated to the memory of Wulff Scherchen.



Paul Kildea

“Opera Australia’s long winter season at the Sydney Opera House finished in a blaze of glory with a breathtaking Turn of the Screw… expertly cast with the finest singing actors, superbly directed by Neil Armfield,...
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The featured image of Wulff Scherchen was taken by Enid Slater.