I first met Benjamin Britten in 1947. I had left the London Philharmonic to freelance and I was asked to audition for a new opera company formed by Benjamin Britten called the English Opera Group. I gave the audition and was immediately engaged as solo double bass. I was very excited for we were to begin the season at Glyndebourne giving the premiere of his new opera, “Albert Herring” and then play at the Holland and then the Lucerne Festivals; after this we were to play in various other venues including Covent Garden Opera House.
At the first rehearsal I chatted with Ben, as we called him. He was of average height, thin, with wavy light brown hair with a “widow’s peak”. As a conductor he was excellent, far better than any of the guest conductors who sometimes came to direct his works. The double bass parts were extremely difficult and quite a challenge.