Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Graham Steed

Letter No.: 
VWL1409
[18th November 1938]

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

Dear Mr Steed

Many thanks for your letter - I should not like to pronounce for a pupil against her teacher1 - I think the rule would be that the words should be sung just as in speaking - treating the note values fairly freely.
There is one point however where most singers go wrong - they break thus
Deep in the sunsearched growth the dragonfly2 hangs//
like a blue thread3

- this to my mind spoils the phrase - I prefer the break4 after “dragonfly”.

I'm so glad your boys like my Te Deum - most people don't.
Yours sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams


1.  Mr Steed's wife who had been the pupil of J.E. Hutchinson, teacher of Kathleen Ferrier.
2.  VW originally wrote 'butterfly' both here and below but corrected himself.
3.  From 'Silent Noon' (CW 1903/2)
4.  Originally 'the break should...' but this was deleted in favour of the more subjective statement.

General notes: 

From a transcript by the recipient in the possession of UVW. Steed was a choirmaster in Victoria, British Columbia. See International Who's Who in Music, 12th edn, 1990. 
U: In his covering letter to you in the file he says he has four letters in all and did you want him to send them. Did you and did he?
Date from postmark.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
381118