Letter from Arthur Bliss to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
17th August, 1943

Dear Ralph,

We are very anxious for you, if you will, to write a Victory Anthem, to be used at the end of the war.  If you would honour us with such a work, it might be best to have a preliminary talk about the words that would be most fitting to use on this occasion.  It would perhaps be necessary to invite some poet to write special words, instead of using already existing poems, or words from the Bible.
Would you be in London on 8th,  9th or 10th September and be able to come here and see me?  I should very much like Dr. Welch, who is Director of Religious Broadcasting to come and give his views.
I have spoken to Arnold Bax about this, in his capacity of Master of the King’s Musick, and he also would be very pleased if you would do this as part of the official thanksgiving at the time of the armistice.1
Yours ever,


1. This became Thanksgiving for Victory later (1952) renamed A song of thanksgiving (Catalogue of Works 1944/4). In the event the words were chosen from a variety of sources, including the Bible, Shakespeare and Rudyard Kipling.
2. Arthur Bliss, Director of Music at the BBC 1924-1944.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 910, VW composer
Original database number: