Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Julian Herbage (BBC)

Letter No.: 
Dec 2 [1934]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,


Dear Mr Herbage

I agree that if it is definitely settled that you put Miss Williams’ Overture1 into the programme on January 16 it would be much better to take it out of my programme - but rather than that it should not be done at all I would prefer to do it even with the small number of strings -
I mentioned that difficulty to Mr Buesst when discussing the Overture with him, but he says that in his opinion that for broadcasting purposes the small number of strings did not matter and it was on that understanding that I included it.
I feel that we ought to have something bright to take its place and suggest Comedy Overture (I forget the exact title) by Elizabeth MacConchy2 instead of the two Psalms. (5 minutes)
I have spoken to Miss MacConchy about this possibility and it seems quite feasible on the orchestra, the details of which you sent me - The only thing is Miss MacConchy tells me that there is a chance of a later performance of this work by you - Is this only a chance or is it a certainty?  If the latter, again I do not want to stand in the way.  I will agree to your decision as to whether to do Miss MacConchy’s Overture or Miss Williams’ Psalms.
I have noted chorus rehearsal for my Mystical Songs3 December 27 St George’s Hall - 3-45.4
Yours sincerely

R Vaughan Williams

1. Grace Williams
2. sic.
3. Five Mystical Songs (Catalogue of Works 1911/2).
4. On this concert see Jennifer Doctor, ‘Working for her own salvation’ in Lewis Foreman (ed.), Vaughan Williams in Perspective (Albion Music, 1998), pp. 194-5.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 910, VW artist
General notes: 

Year taken from context; see VWL1327 and VWL1337.
In the hand of AVW signed by VW.

Original database number: