Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Hubert Foss (OUP)

Letter No.: 
July 11 1937

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

Dear Foss

I have been carefully through the German version of Tudor Portraits & have come to the conclusion that the translator has contented himself with providing the right number of syllables but has ignored the varieties of accent.  In most cases this can be got over by a few alterations in the notes, but in some cases this is impossible.  Herewith a list of the lines which must be altered to fit the music:-
(The numbers refer to the numbered lines in his copy)

Elinor Rumming

37 False accent
38   “      “
39   “      “
50   Not enough syllables
57   “    “      “
64   “    “      “
113  False accent
123  Not enough syllables
125  Too many syllables
126  “    “      “
127  “    “      “
129  “    “      “
141  Not enough syllables
159  False accent

Jane Scroop

8    “Ich erzog”.  It is not Jane speaking here but the Nun
10 )  I cannot make this fit the music and it does not express the English
11 ) 
61   False accent
69   “      “
70   Not enough syllables
71   “    “       “
114  Etc “Grail” is not the Kyrie but the Graduale
134  This anticipates the next line “Libera me” 
     Why not something like “Mit herrlichen Anfochner”
137  False accent
148  Not enough syllables


Why not Heida (see Wagner Rheingold) instead of Heissa which will hiss unpleasantly.

Verse 1 Line 1.  False accent (Kann in)
V1. L3. Does not scan
V2. L1. I presume it should be ‘kein’ not ‘fein’
          There is also a false accent (‘parliert’)

Rutterkin (continued)

V7.L1  ‘nen ärmel hab’ false accent

My Pretty Bess  seems pretty good -

But I have received no translation of “Jay bird”

I am sending back the copy herewith.
Yours sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 966
General notes: 

Year date from OUP datestamp.  In the hand of AVW, signed by VW.
A German translation does not appear to have been published.

Original database number: