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 St Paul's Girls School by Nora Day and Vally Lasker. 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