Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank

Letter No.: 
VWL2068
19th July 1950.

The White Gates,
Dorking,
Surrey.

Dear Frank,1

There are several letters to answer:
1. About Mr. Hancock:2 He sounds very promising and I will ask him to come and see me.
2. “Three Shakespeare Songs”.3 I agree to the following:
 (1): Original key.
 (2): One tone up.
 (3): Original key.
I should think the note at the beginning might run, “Specially written for the National Festival”, but you will have to find out from them what National Festival it is. There are so many about just then.
3. I am sending by registered post three-quarters of the Cantata.4  I went through the pianoforte score very carefully with Miss Cullen,5  who is a first-rate pianist but knows the sort of thing that schoolteacher pianists can play, and she pronounced it very difficult; not so much as regarding playing the notes as thinking them. I have simplified it as much as I can and put a ring round almost half the notes in red ink which indicates small notes in print. There seems to be now more red ink circles than notes. Would you like to show it to an expert before finally deciding?
I am writing a real stinger to the Schools Music Association. I feel you must have thought my conduct to you was very unmannerly, but I had no idea he would write to you direct instead of through me, so I now formally ask you if you would like to publish it, and I am quite prepared for you to say, “No”!
Anyway, we won’t hurry. I am not going to spoil my work at the bidding of any Secretary. They can keep it until they are ready.
I send you Peggy Hicks’  songs, about which I spoke to you. I like the Hardy ones, and I hope you will consider them sympathetically and not be put off by the picture of a spider being sick on the outside.
Yours sincerely,

R. Vaughan Williams


1. Music Editor in succession to Norman Peterkin (1947); Head of Music from 1954 until his retirement in 1975.
2. Leonard Hancock, repetiteur at the Royal Opera House 1947-53, who was to conduct the premiere of The Pilgrim’s Progress (Catalogue of Works 1951/1).
3. Catalogue of Works 1951/3.
4. The Sons of Light (Catalogue of Works 1950/3).
5. Margery Cullen, Secretary of the Leith Hill Musical Festival.
6. Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Australian-born composition pupil of VW. The Hardy songs appear to be student works, which remain unpublished.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 119L
Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
500719b