Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Ralph Wedgwood

Letter No.: 
March 25th [1901]

19 Second Avenue

Dear Randolph

I am sending you these small press notices of Ralph's Heroic Elegy wh was played at a college concert last Thursday. I know you will be interested to see them & perhaps amused.1
Do not return them - I was not able to be at the concert but I heard the elegy played over by the orchestra one afternoon before and was quite satisfied.
Stanford chose the title - it sounds as if it had to do with the war wh isn't strictly true - but it fits it very well. I wish you cd have heard it - Ralph is very encouraged by the way in wh it has impressed his musical friends.
I have been separated from Ralph for Hervey is only allowed to see my mother and me - but I hope he is coming into lodgings at Easter & then I shall see him. He has been having rather a miserable time with sciatica.
Yrs affectionately


1.  Enclosed were (a) a programme of the concert at Alexandra House and (b) notices from The Times and Daily Graphic. The programme included Symphonic Prelude ("at high noon beneath the sun the strong surf beats...") by John Ireland and performances of the Tchaikowsky B flat minor piano concerto and the Beethoven eighth symphony.  The Times critic describes the Elegy as 'a really valuable addition to modern English music.  Mr Vaughan Williams is obviously a musician of great skill and power. His writing is broad, dignified and original. His beautiful first theme, given out by the horns, is developed with great skill, and he reaches his climax easily but with great effect. The beautiful elegy is certainly deserving of a place in the programmes of our symphony concerts.' An unidentified critic wrote: 'The second novelty, Mr. R. Vaughan Williams's "Heroic Elegy", stands on a far higher plane. It is a work of performance rather than of promise, and its production adds a new name to the list of native composers of the first rank. Simple in its structure and dignified in its themes, Mr Williams's elegy is an admirable musical illustration of manly sorrow. The beautiful opening subject is extraordinarily pathetic without being the least hysterical, and the whole work, short as it is, is a masterly expression of restrained emotion.'

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Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/2, ff.66-66
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