Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Kenneth Wright (BBC)

Letter No.: 
VWL1927
August 18 [1944]

The White Gates,
Dorking.

Dear Mr. Wright

I received the score of the ‘Victory’ Anthem yesterday Aug 17, enclosing a letter from Boult dated Aug 12!1
It will save time if I send you my own copy of the score and I will keep your copy and correct it at my leisure for my own use.  I hope to let you have it by Monday.  I have had to make a good many revisions.  You must remember that when I sent it to Arthur Bliss some months ago I asked him to go through it with Welch and see if it was suitable.  He contented himself with a brief acknowledgement and some formula to the effect that “they were proud to have it”.  Since then I have been waiting for some further sign of life, but nothing happened till the other day when I had a telephone call from Boult asking me when I was going to send it!
This brings me to another point: On the title page I made certain demands as to what was required for the performance.  I feel strongly that a historic occasion like this requires an imposing personel  whatever the value of the music may be which the BBC have done me the honour to ask for.
I took it for granted that having stated my requirements and these not having been refused, that silence gave assent, but it now occurs to me that as the music was apparently put away unread these requests have never been brought to the notice of the officials.  So I think I had better repeat what I asked for -
1. A soprano with a powerful dramatic voice but no wobble. (I should prefer Florence Austral).
2. A chorus of about 200.  (The BBC professional chorus with their highly individualised voices would be entirely wrong except as part of a larger chorus).
3. Chorus of 100 children (N B not choir boys).
4. Full symphony orchestra including 6 trumpets.
5. A large organ.
6. A speaker.
Please show this letter to Boult when he comes back - also to anyone else that you think ought to see it
Yours sincerely

R Vaughan Williams


1. Thanksgiving for Victory, Catalogue of Works 1944/4.

Location of original letter:

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

Year taken from stamp of receipt. In the hand of AVW, signed by VW.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 434
Original database number: 
440818