Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Katharine Thomson

Letter No.: 
VWL2351
9th January, 1952.

The White Gates,
Dorking,
Surrey.

Dear Mrs. Thomson,

I hope you will reconsider doing “Shamus O’Brien”.  I think it would suit your people splendidly.1
My “Shepherds” is still available as a separate work though it has been incorporated in “Pilgrim’s Progress”.  I shall have no objection to your doing the whole work after it has been performed in its revised version at Covent Garden, if you feel inclined to.
I am afraid my pageant music “England’s Green and Pleasant Land” was not chiefly composed by me, only part of it and my part has generally been used up for other works, and as it was very largely of local interest I do not think it would transplant.
If you want a work of mine would you consider “The Poisoned Kiss”?  I thought it quite amusing, though several people thought the dialogue rather “dated”.  Both dialogue and music have been considerably cut and I should have no objection to that.
Other things which have occurred to me - a delightful one-act Opera by Benjamin called “The Devil Take Her”.  There is also a very nice one-act opera by him called, (I think) “The Prima Donna”, but I am not sure of the title.  I think this has only three characters.2  If you wanted a short opera to go with one of these do you know “Prince Ferelon” by Gatty which I thought very delightful when I heard it?  How about doing a Johann Strauss opera?  “The Gipsy Baron” has got delightful music in it.  If I think of any others I will let you know.
Please give my love to all your company.
Yrs

R. Vaughan Williams


1. The Clarion Singers
2. Arthur Benjamin's Prima Donna was written in 1933 but not performed until 1949. It does in fact have six characters.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 71536, f. 39
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
520109b