Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Letter No.: 
1st September 1950

The White Gates,

Dear Bessy,

I had not seen anything about the proposed closing down of the Third Programme. I believe they have means of telling how many people are listening in at any given moment. I feel myself that their programmes must improve a lot before we really make serious efforts to retain them. I find there is almost as much music as I want to listen to on the Home Service and even occasionally on the light1 as there is on the third.
The Third Programme people are much too fond of dreary 17th and 18th Century music which may be very interesting to the antiquarian and the musicologist but has no real artistic value. As to their talks - they won't be much use to me until the speakers learn the elements of English elocution, by which I mean merely learn to speak so that they can be heard. They ought to take lessons from Desmond McCarthy or Gilbert Murray.
I was very interested to know that you used to play Raff's "Cavatina" also when you were young. Of course I played the opening phrase all on the G string, and a horrible noise I must have made.


Mrs Trevelyan,
The Shiffolds,
Holmbury St. Mary

1. The BBC Light Programme.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
RCT 16.187

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/18, f. 188
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 542
Original database number: