Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Major Percy S.G. O’Donnell (BBC)

Letter No.: 
Oct 19 [1939]

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

My Dear Major O’Donnell1

I am so sorry I made that stupid mistake
My letter to you (which has gone heaven knows where) was to confirm my suggestion that some of the tunes might be whistled or played on some of the various instruments (accordion etc) which the troops themselves use.
As soon as I get the word “go” from you I am at your service to do my best.2
Yrs sincerely

R Vaughan Williams

1.  Director of the BBC Military Band.
2.  O’Donnell had written to Reginald Thatcher, Deputy Director of Music at the BBC, on 9th October: ‘Dr Vaughan Williams and I met on Friday last and discussed his suggestion of the Military Band’s playing of the Folk Songs.  The idea is that we give a half hour programme periodically of such folk songs as he considers would be very suitable for marching purposes – first played alone by the flute – then by flutes & ob clarinets with drums – and finally by the full band (which latter would need special arrangements by Gerard Williams).  I think we have enough folk songs already arranged for military band to manage a couple of such programmes, and I am forwarding a list of these items to Dr Vaughan Williams.  I suggested to him that if it were at all possible it would greatly enhance the interest in these programmes if he would compère them – and he was very much in favour of that idea.  I will wait until I hear from you before doing anything further in the matter. At the moment we are under orders for Glasgow – but I understand that may not stand – so until we know definitely where we are likely to be I feel we cannot do much in the way of such special programmes. I hope you are keeping fit and well.’


Location of original letter:

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

Year date taken from context in file.

Original database number: