Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maud Karpeles

Letter No.: 
[About 13th November 1932]

The Biltmore
Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues
New York

Dear Maud

I am for the moment in N.Y. staying surrounded by luxury at the expense of some old friends.  I had a wonderful experience at the top of the ‘Empire State’ first sunset over the river & all the sky scrapers suddenly lighting up.  Then all the street lights came out & the moon!
New York looks more classically & tragically beautiful than ever.  I’ve got to come here next week to talk to the E.F.D.S1 - I thought it was just to be a cosy little affair & now I find they’ve invited all the musicians of N.Y. & I’ve got to talk for ¾ of an hour! Too bad.
I’m so sorry OUP were such idiots over ‘Greensleeves’.2  I hope its all right now I think “Blow the Wind” is a lovely tune beautifully arranged3 - no diplomacy there!
I start home on Dec 3rd & v. glad I shall be though I’ve had a good time here.


1. English Folk Dance Society.
2. Presumably Oxford University Press had claimed copyright and asked for a fee in connexion with the tune, following VW’s setting of it in Sir John in Love, Catalogue of Works 1928/3, though the separate publication of his treatment both in a vocal version and in the adaptation by Ralph Greaves, as Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves, did not happen until 1934.
3. ‘Blow the wind southerly’ made famous by Kathleen Ferrier’s well-known recording.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/2/3/2, ff. 74-76

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus.1714/1/8, ff.113-115
General notes: 

Date deduced from VWL1019 where VW tells Imogen Holst that he is going to New York on 12th November.
Mostly printed in R.V.W.: a biography p.193.

Cobbe 218; R.V.W.: a biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, p.193.
Original database number: