Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Frank Howes

Letter No.: 
VWL1307
June 11 [1938]

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

Dear Howes1

Unfortunately I cannot be at the EFDS2 meeting on June 14 as I have for my sins to be in Hamburg.
If the question of the proposed agreement with Novellos comes up & if it is not out of order could this point be put to the Committee with regard to performing fees?
You have doubtless read Maud Karpeles’ excellent letter on the subject in the Magazine3 so I need not repeat all that - but the upshot is that the performers gain nothing by the so-called free performances, but the owners of the copyrights do suffer - The money is anyway paid over either to the PRS4 or direct to us & if we refuse to accept it on behalf of the owners of the copyright it will go into the general PRS fund & will be shared out among other people.
We are of course especially concerned with the Sharp copyrights. I understand that these earned about £200 a year from performing fees - Some of this of course comes from the pfte arrangements but some comes from the melodies and dance notations themselves - We have pledged ourselves to make good any loss to the Sharp Trustees which our action may cause - Why should we make this indebtedness any greater than is necessary by refusing to accept the principle of performing fees?
Yours sincerely

R Vaughan Williams


1. Howes was the editor of the Folk Song Journal.
2. English Folk Dance Society
3. Presumably in Folk Song Journal.
4. Performing Right Society.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Deposit 2009/21, Box 1

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/11, ff. 52-54
General notes: 

In the hand of AVW, signed by VW.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
380611