Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Harriet Cohen

Letter No.: 
Saturday [20 January 1933]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

Dearest Harriet

My cold is well, but now my mother is seriously ill and it may be impossible for me to come to London on Monday.1 I know you will understand if I am not there.
I have written to Adrian & told him that if you both feel that it is over scored anywhere he has carte blanche to thin out the orchestration all he thinks fit.  Gustav2 will, I hope, be there to advise.
I do hope you are better - & I know that well or ill you are going to play beautifully.
One small point - the 2 bars of Arnold - I like them slower (I know Wood takes it quicker) - quite slow & very far off like a dream3


1. i.e. for the rehearsal of the Piano Concerto which Harriet Cohen was to play under Adrian Boult on 1st February.
2. Gustav Holst
3. There was a quotation from Arnold Bax’s 3rd Symphony towards the end of the finale in the first version of the concerto - but this was removed after the first performance (see VWL1063). The quotation was an acknowledgement of the close friendship between Bax and Harriet Cohen. The conductor mentioned is Henry Wood.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1642, ff. 32-34
General notes: 

The postmark is 5 Jan 1933, on the envelope attached to the letter, but this appears not to be correct, see VWL10, for simultaneous letter to Boult which was received (and stamped) at the BBC on 23 January 1933.
Partially printed in Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.236.

Cobbe 219; Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.236
Original database number: