Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Herbert Bardgett

Letter No.: 
[?February 1952]


Page 1 , bar 2
Do you split the 4th beat on “Behold” or do the Choir come in at the end of the 4th beat?
No but I split on the next bar

Same on Page 6, bar 2?
do p.6. bb 2 & 3

Page 13 Line 2, bar 1.
A breath after “these” and straight on to “nations” in one phrase?
Breath if anywhere after ‘sailors’ I shd think

Page 43, line 2, bar 1.
Do you split the triplet beats or do the choir just sing it in one beat?
Yes, & very largamente

2 bars later
Will you give the triplet beats in that bar?

Do the Semi Chorus Altos sit till page 49 pocco meno mosso?
Use your judgement

Page 55, line 2, bar 1
Will you beat each note, or do the Choir sing the allargando to your 3?
Beat each quaver also beat out quavers at end of line (“and en-”

In 3 or 1 (I have done it both ways). Page 57.
½ way between the 2. Decisive 1 & indicates 2 & 3 except at beginning where I think we shd beat out all three

Page 58. Bar before “B”
In 2?
In 2

Page 66. 3rd bar in 2?

Is there an accel at “K”? Can you give me a metronome mark? Does 11 continue at the new tempo or get quicker and quicker?
Largamente probably q = 120 then seque accel h letter K until very probably the q = 160 but I make no promises.

Does it draw up again at “L” on page 67.

Page 72. “T”. In 1?
1 in the bar from letter R p.71

Page 77
Some of the very old Sheffield members tell me that years ago they sang the last bar, top line Sop and Con. Complete the word “following” like the tenors and start the word again with the basses. I rather think this was somebody’s stunt.
As printed

Page 80. Last bar - Any Rall whatsoever? Is “ing” long or short?
Last 2 bars molto rall - “ing” very short.

Page 81. Bar 3. Do you give the triplet beats separately or do they sing 3 to your 2?
Not with a good choir (by the way slight animando at tenor lead “covered”)

Page 85. Is this in 2 or 4? (for orchestral basses)
4 in the bar

Page 87. We are doing the semi-chorus full. Do you still want it “distant” like a semi-chorus?
Full & not distant. I’ve scrapped all that years ago!

Page 89, line 2, bar 1.
What is the metronome indication here. Is this section in 4 or 2?
4 in the bar q = about 100 (slight Animato p.90 b.4 (“perhaps”))

Page 91, 3rd bar after “H”.
In 1. And the animato in 2. Is his correct?
2/4 bar in 2. Animato in 2/2 but of course a slower 2. (p.93 4th bar “Songs” 4 in the bar)2

Page 101. Are we doing the printed cut. I have not rehearsed it yet as Sea Symphony is half a programme. Perhaps you have arranged this with Sir John. I can easily rehearse it if you wish. I would rather do it but you p.say.
I wd rather do it all, but you & Barbirolli must settle this.

Page 106 last two bars.
I take it the allegro is Crotchet = 160. It also is printed in the vocal part Crotchet = 106. (Below the bass line0. I hope this is a misprint!
q =140

Page 111, line 2, bar 2.
Does the “affrett” go straight through that bar or do you want the word “sail” at allargando tempo?
Affrett goes on but has reached its limit by that bar.

Page 112. In 2?

Page 113. I am omitting the vocal parts and starting last bar p.114. is this still in 2

Page 123, line 2, bars 1 and 4.
In 6?

N.B. No 3 Scherzo.
May the ad lib voice parts p.72 letter T all be sung please?

1. Bardgett was preparing the choirs for performances of A Sea Symphony with the Hallé Orchestra at Sheffield and Manchester on March ?? and ?? which VW was to conduct. His queries are typewritten and VW’s handwritten replies are given here in italics.
2. “Songs” does not in fact come until the 6th bar.

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