Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
VWL1971
January 8 [1950]

The White Gates

Dear Frank

The W.I are an almighty nuisance1 - Nevertheless perhaps I ought to be getting busy with the orchestration2 and on this I want your advice.
I feel for the Albert Hall we must have a full orchestra at least 40 36 strings and full wind and brass - total about 70 65 players.  I told the secretary 70, but she apparently translated 70 into 60 according to your letter.3
Do you agree to this?
But in addition you will probably like to have a version for reduced orchestra and one for pianoforte and strings - Do you favour doing this by “cueing in” or by making 3 separate scores?  Personally I favour the latter - chiefly for the reason that I should have to do the ‘cueing in’ myself and the reduced versions would be done by someone else -4 
Could you therefore in order that I could get to work soon - send me 2 copies of the vocal score which I can cut up and paste into the full score to avoid having to write out the vocal parts -
Yrs

R. Vaughan Williams


1. The National Federation of Women's Institutes commissioned Ralph Vaughan Williams to write a cantata, Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, for women's voices. This was the basis of a national Singing Festival held in 1950. For nearly a year 1,230 WI choirs - 21,000 members - practised. There were County Festivals and the best choirs were chosen to sing at the final performance in the Albert Hall accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult.
2. Of the cantata Folk Songs for the Four Seasons, Catalogue of Works 1949/1.
3. Frank responded that he felt that 36 were too few strings and the balance too much wind. He proposed 7.6.5.4.3 strings and only double wind plus 2-3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani and 2 percussion.
4. Frank felt three versions would be excessive, but agreed to two - full orchestra and strings and piano.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 119G
General notes: 

In the hand of AVW signed by VW.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
500108