Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Edward J. Dent

Letter No.: 
9th August, 1950

The White Gates,
Dorking, Surrey.

Dear Dent

Thank you very much for your long and interesting letter.
I ought perhaps to have explained that the idea of having a young man to conduct the Opera1 was originally mine. The Impresario first suggested getting a well-known man like Barbirolli or Boult to do the first performance, and then hand it over, but I said I would rather that whoever conducted the subsequent performances (if any) should conduct the first performance also, and as I had some doubts about the head man,2 although I did not say so, I suggested perhaps giving it to one of the younger conductors, who would be very keen to make his name through a good performance.
I think the young conductor in question3 has had some experience on tours, and has also conducted things like “The Firebird” for the American Ballet, and I think, if he can conduct that he can conduct anything.
I put Alan Frank on his track and he hears very well of him, and says that the orchestra thought well of him, which is very important.

R. Vaughan Williams

Professor Dent,
Lion Hotel,

1. Pilgrim's Progress, Catalogue of Works 1951/1. Dent was closely involved in the revision of this work, before, as here, but particularly after the first performance on 26 April 1951. See the correspondence published in Catalogue of Works pp.208-218.
2. Karl Rankl. See The New Grove: ‘he was considered difficult with singers, orchestras and producers’.
3. Leonard Hancock


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Dent Archive 1950.21
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 541
Original database number: