Letter from William Barclay Squire to F.W. Evans

Letter No.: 
VWL191
2 March 1905

Department of Printed Books,
British Museum,
London: W.C.

My dear Sir

I have read through the Masque & find that none of the music in it is extant here. You will therefore undoubtedly have to get new music written, though I think that the dances might be arranged from some of the dances in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book or other sources. These however will require orchestrating. The music will require 3 women soloists (the 3 nymphs), a chorus & orchestra. I should think that a small number would do for both of the latter, especially as the orchestra is directed to be on the stage.
If I were you I should make no attempt to employ old instruments except possibly in the antimasques. It is difficult to find them &  also to get competent players, & the tone & effect is generally unsatisfactory. Of course the Masque was really the precursor of the opera, & the music in it was an important feature. In 'Pan's Anniversary' you will want
1. A Prelude or Overture

2. Solos for the 3 nymphs (these might be spoken, but were almost certainly sung, as the nymphs sing later on).

3. Loud music for the change of scene.

4. 1st Antimasque Dance.

5. Hymn I. Trio & Chorus.

6. Entry Dance.

7. Hymn II. Solo & Chorus

8. Main Dance.

9. Hymn III. Either Solo or Chorus.

10. Music for the Revel.

11. 2nd Antimasque Dance.

12. Hymn IV. Solo & Chorus.

This is a rather long list to get written, copied & rehearsed by April 23. Mr Galpin might possibly assist by undertaking the Antimasques & the Revels: he has done something of the kind in his own Parish, but for the rest you must put yourself in the hands of a composer. Two names occur to me as good men for your purpose.
1. R. Vaughan Williams Mus. Doc.
10 Barton Street
Westminster

2. N. Gatty
62 Limerston Street
Chelsea

The former is a very rising & able young man, who is especially interested in English folk-music & would approach the work entirely in the right spirit. The latter is also a clever composer & has had some experience of this kind of work. Both are old students of the R. College of Music. You would have of course to pay them, but in doing so it would be well to consider whether you buy the copyright of their music or only the rights of the Stratford performances. Probably the former would be more satisfactory, as you might get it printed & published at Stratford, where it would have some sale as a memento of the occasion.
I am trying to get you a photograph of the performers in the Masque of Flowers, which will give you some idea of the dresses used at Gray's Inn.
If you would like to meet Dr Vaughan Williams or Mr Gatty you might do so here: any way it is evident that you have no time to lose.
Believe me
Yours truly

Wm Barclay Squire

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

General notes: 

 F.W. Evans was the Hon. Secretary of the Committee of Management appointed by the  Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon to supervise the staging of Ben Jonson's masque 'Pan's Anniversary' on 24 April 1905. William Barclay Squire was Superintendent of the Music Room at the British Museum. VW eventually composed music for Pan's Anniversary (Catalogue of Works 1905/4). See also VWL3986 for VW's correspondence on the subject.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
050302