Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 
VWL114
[1899?]

Dear V.H.

I don't know who the divine Rockfeller is - but I am going to follow his advice and fill the first part of my letter with business while the rest shall overflow with sentiment.
Part I Business
The business refers (a) to your songs & (b) to your suite.  To deal first with (a).  I must say that the arguments against publishing at your own expense seem greater than those for that course - for the following reasons -
(i) If I see a piece of music published by a man whom I know nothing else about, and see those fatal words 'Author's property' at the bottom of the cover, it at once sets me against him, makes me think him a poor fellow and prevents me wanting to buy his song - Therefore I am afraid that if the rest of the world is like me your purchasers will be limited to  (alpha) those who know you personally (beta) those who know you through your music - and these owing to your extreme youth are at present, though enthusiastic, yet unfortunately at present small. 
(ii) Novello have just published two part songs of yours1 - now if these are successful would they not very likely buy some whole songs from you a little later on - the moral of which is wait.
(iii) I think it most improbable that any pecuniary emolument would accrue to you from this course - nor, I think, any fame from songs so to speak privately2 ...


 1. Including To Sylvia, which was published by Novello in 1899.
 2. This ends a double sheet: the remainder of the letter  is missing.

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, ff.43-44
General notes: 

Perhaps 1899 from references to the published partsongs [1899] and Suite in G minor of 1898.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Heirs and Rebels, Letter VIII
Original database number: 
02xxxa