Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Arthur Bliss

Letter No.: 
VWL1325
Nov 6 [1934]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,
Dorking.

Dear Arthur

Thank you very much for your letter1 - as a matter of fact what you said set me thinking hard with the result that I had already made an alteration - I can't cut out that recapitulation of the 2nd subject slow at the end - but I have led up to it differently - I realize that that scrabble which I thought wd sound brilliant was merely fussy - & the sudden pp was wrong - now I have made a more emotional climax and a gradual diminuendo to the soft end. So now we have the 2nd subject for 1st time & vigorous lead up to by a scrabble & 2nd time soft & slow led down to by a dim - I believe that will be all right.
I am going to alter the end of the scherzo - but cannot yet see the right way to do it. I have cut about 10 bars out of the slow movt.
I cannot yet see my way to alter the finale & at present it seems all right to me.
You mustn't mind think that your advice has not been valuable because I have not exactly followed it - when I give advice to my pupils I tell them that they can do one of 3 things
(a) accept it blindly - bad
(b) reject it kindly - bad but not so bad
(c) think out a 3rd course for themselves - sound.

Yrs with much gratitude

R. Vaughan Williams


1. Bliss had apparently attended a play-through of the Fourth Symphony at the Royal College of Music on November 2nd, by Nora Day and Vally Lasker, at which Adrian nBoult was also present (See also VWL1323 and VWL1319). VW found his advice sound.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS/Bliss/
General notes: 

 In fact VW was staying in London at this time.
Cambridge University Library catalogue this letter as referring to the 8th Symphony and date it to the year 1957.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 256
Original database number: 
341106