Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Imogen Holst

Letter No.: 
VWL1464
[31 October 1940]

The White Gates,
Dorking.

Dearest Imogen

It was dear of you to write - we don’t quite realize she has gone yet1 - one keeps on thinking that she may come in any minute as of old - we old people would not mind going.
I read all about your work in the RCM Magazine - we’ve got to keep the musical flag flying - it is the only thing left us2 - My only contribution at present is organizing quite low brow concerts for soldiers in Dorking!
By the way can you tell me anything about Nicolo Draber3 (Flutist). He has written to me asking me to help him get release. The only “terms of reference” of my committee is “musicians of eminent distinction who have made outstanding contributions to art”. Could N. Draber by any stretch of the imagination come under that category?
Will you give my Committee your candid opinion (in confidence of course)
Much love from us both

Uncle Ralph


1. Honorine Williamson, VW's niece, who had been killed in an air raid on 2 September.
2. Imogen Holst, ‘Rural music’, Royal College of Music Magazine, xxxvi (1940), p.78-9. Imogen Holst was a travelling music organiser in South West England. See VWL1376.
3. After leaving Berlin, where he had been a flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Draber had gone to Moscow and eventually to England. He subsequently settled in Aldeburgh and changed his name to Nicholas Debenham (See obituary in the Aldeburgh Parish Magazine, September 1987).

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
HOL/2/7/9/227

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/13, ff. 132-133
General notes: 

Date from postmark.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 351
Original database number: 
401031