Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Joanna Hadley

Letter No.: 
VWL143
[?September 1906]

13 Cheyne Walk
S.W.

Dear Madam

Please forgive my delay in answering your letter.  I shall be delighted to arrange & invent some music for the “Pilgrim’s Progress”  - if you can provide me  with a string orchestra of first-rate amateurs & 3 or 4 professionals to keep the thing going.  I see you mention Miss Waterhouse as one of the amateur players - every player should be at least as good as she and have had experience in playing in orchestras.
You will kindly let me know as soon as you can exactly where music will be wanted & where it accompanies business about how long it will last.
I am returning the copy to Miss Ouless so perhaps she will kindly let me have a copy.
I have one or two suggestions to make:
(1)  I must have a few words - just a sentence or two - for the singing of the angels - something which can be repeated often, like “alleluia”.
(2)  I think it better to have a real folksong for the shepherds and not “He that is down” - also the pipe will be impractical unless we have wind in the orchestra - also it will not be a duet but a solo.
(3)  Cd could not the delightful “Who wd true valour see” from part II of P.P. be introduced - possibly the song during the arming of Xtian1
Yrs truly

R. Vaughan Williams


1. It was: VW had recently included this hymn as 'He who would valiant be' in the newly published English Hymnal, set to a folk song called after and collected at Monk's Gate.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 70935, ff.1-2
General notes: 

 Joanna Hadley and Evelyn Ouless had made a dramatization of Pilgrim's Progress. For the music provided by VW see Catalogue of Works1906/5. It was first performed on 1st December 1906 at Reigate Priory. Subsequent performances were given in the Imperial Theatre on 16th March 1907 and in Lincoln's Inn Hall on 12th, 13th and 14th March 1908. See also R.V.W.: a biography, p.87, where the performance is dated 1909.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 42
Original database number: 
0609xa