Then Slowly Let Them Go (2008)

Project Summary

Then Slowly Let Them Go was an adaptation of Britten’s Albert Herring, devised as part of Transition. During the summer term of 2007, Year 6 students at six primary schools in Peacehaven and Newhaven worked with poet Justin Coe and composers John Barber and James Redwood. Each class wrote original poetry, composed original melodies and selected previously unheard chords and melodic fragments which formed the basis of the piano accompaniment.

In 20008, the piece was performed by the very pupils that had helped compose it.


The piece tells the story of Albert’s frustrations with his controlling mother, judgement from the townsfolk, a terror of the future, a desperate desire to escape, a night of madness when he finally broke free and reflections on the change within him. These are represented in the form of memories of a now grown-up Albert who has just had his own child. This huge life-change forces Albert to reflect on his relationship with his mother – why she may have been so controlling and how he might want to raise his own daughter. But over the course of the piece, we realise that there is a haunting explanation about why he can’t get through to talk to his mother…

Creative Team

Composer John Barber
Librettist Justin Coe
Musical Director James Redwood

Tenor Benjamin Segal