Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Imogen Holst

Letter No.: 

The White Gates,

Dearest Imogen

I find your question difficult to answer because the OUP do all that for me.
I rather think the individual publisher wd be the best person to negotiate in each case.  I do not think that there are musical agents like literary agents - at least I have never heard of it.  Wd the authors help you? - I suppose you belong? 1

“Darest thou now”

About 1904 or early 1905 Gustav & I were both stuck - so I suggested we shd both set the same words in competition - suggesting “Darest thou”2 - The prize was awarded by us to me.3
I cannot remember anything about “Vision of Pentecost”  I do hope it is true that the Choral Symphony is to be done.4

Uncle Ralph

We must have a try for the Fantasia.5

1.  Imogen Holst had possibly asked about how to set about negotiating with the publisher of her biography (Oxford University Press). VW suggests the Society of Authors, of which he was a member.
2.  The poem ‘Toward the unknown region’ by Walt Whitman from Whispers of heavenly death.
3.  VW’s setting, Toward the unknown region, was first performed in Leeds on 10th October 1907. See Catalogue of Works 1907/2 (though the setting in question here may be the unison song ‘Darest thou now, O soul’, Catalogue of Works 1925/8, published in 1925 by Curwen). Holst’s setting, H72 is preserved in the British Library and remains unpublished. See Imogen Holst, A thematic catalogue of Gustav Holst’s works (London, 1974) p.56.
4. Presumably A Vigil of Pentecost, H123, and the Choral Symphony H155 (composed 1923-24).
5. Holst’s A Choral Fantasia, op.51, H177.


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