Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Myfanwy Jones

Letter No.: 
VWL1529
March 31 [1941]

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

My Dear Myfanwy

Of course I remember you well (I never forget a pretty face!) & I remember also very well our drive in the car & also an afternoon we spent together at Osborne Row when we made great friends I hope. It is very sweet of you to write to me about the BBC business1 - I've had letters of all sorts - but I like to have some nice ones.
I was much interested to hear of your activities - I wonder if we shall ever meet again in Newcastle - the last time was a rather riotous evening at Osborne Row after a concert.2
Have you heard that Steuart (and most of the other professors) have resigned from the Curtis as a protest against the dismissal of Randall Thompson & some show-fiddle put in his place.3
Love from

Uncle Ralph


1. Alan Bush's music had been banned by the B.B.C. on account of his political views; a measure against which VW protested vigorously by withdrawing a song which had been commissioned by the Corporation. See R.V.W.: a biography, p.239, and VWL1526, VWL1527.
2. A performance of Five Tudor Portraits conducted by VW on 29 March 1939.
3. Steuart Wilson, the English tenor where Wilson had been a teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, since 1939. The chief benefactor of the Institute, Mrs Bok, had taken against the Director, Randall Thompson, the American composer (who eventually became Professor at Harvard) because of some of the reforms he had introduced. Thompson had reportedly carried his resignation in his pocket at all times so as to forestall Mrs Bok in dismissing him. She had also withdrawn support from Steuart Wilson, whose pupils were all informed that they must re-audition for the Institute (ex. inf Ted and Jean Uppman). The ‘show-fiddle’ was Ephraim Zimbalist, whom Mrs Bok married shortly after this episode. R.O. Morris had briefly been Professor of Composition at the Curtis Institute.

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/13, ff.139-141
General notes: 

In fact Jones was the recipient's married name (see VWL1592); at this time she was not yet married.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 358
Original database number: 
410331