Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Arnold Barter

Letter No.: 
20th September, 1950.

The White Gates,
Dorking, Surrey.

Dear Barter,

I am so glad to hear that you have invited Michael Mullinar to play my “Fantasia”.  You may have read in the papers about the pianoforte being inaudible.  Of course I have only heard it when conducting or over the wireless.  In the first case I could not hear the orchestra for the pianoforte; in the second case the balance was just right.  The pianoforte is not meant to dominate in the very loud passages.  But I do not want people to say that through either the pianist’s or the conductor’s fault the pianoforte could not be heard.  So if you like you can make the pianoforte silent in the two very fortissimo passages, but I leave this entirely to your judgment.
Have you an organ?  If so it would be rather interesting to try out the version with strings and organ only, in which case, of course, the pianoforte would play everything.1
Yours sincerely,

R Vaughan Williams

(R. Vaughan Williams).

Arnold Barter, Esq.,
9, Hurle Crescent,
Clifton, Bristol.

1. Barter added a note: ‘Will do which he recommends’.

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Typewritten, signed.

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