Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Adrian Boult

Letter No.: 
VWL1234
April 8 [1933 or earlier]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,
Dorking.

Dear Adrian

Thank you very much for a most beautiful and moving performance last Sunday - quite frankly I was rather dreading it because I hadn’t heard it since I tried to conduct it myself - and as you know yourself when one has lived in every note of a work one gets rather morbidly sensitive about it.  But those opening bars so beautifully slow and yet flowing put me right for the evening and everything followed as it should.  I sometimes feel rather jealous that you apparently with one wink of your eye can make those people do things that I couldn’t make them do with hours of grind.
The whole thing though of course it wasn’t my way was yet a right and good way and absolutely convincing
I didn’t care for the lady at the harpsichord - partly because I could not tell in the least what notes she was playing from my place in the hall, partly because of the unconscionable way she dragged out her cadences when everything pointed to swift action & partly because I imagine it is her fault that Steuart’s interpretation is to my mind not so good as it used to be - But after all what I was there for was to hear the choir and they covered themselves with glory.  
Thank you very much for your offer of help on the subject on which I wrote to you.  I am sure you can help & I will write again soon -
Yrs

R Vaughan Williams

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 72624, ff.159-160
General notes: 

Date possibly 1928-1931 when Boult was conductor of Bach Choir after VW.  The letter is apparently about a performance of the St Matthew Passion of J.S. Bach by the Bach Choir with Steuart Wilson as the evangelistl by April 1934 Boult and Wilson were no longer performing together for personal reasons.
In the hand of AVW signed by VW.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 245
Original database number: 
340408