Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 
[July 1897]

Dear V.H.

The following is an accurate description of your duties next week.1

7.0 Boys
give them a few exercises on 100 - that’s what they're accustomed to then take them through the chants and hymns for Sunday as per list.

8.0 Service

give g. for the Vicar then do not play any Amens but give .C. for “O Lord open though our lips” and then accompany as per beastly-blue-book.

Choose one of the Sunday chants for the psalms, the Vicar will tell you which to have. Then play Magnificat (if they do it - ask) to chant 119 and nunc dim to 143 soft and slow.

Then give .g. or F# for creed and accompany all the responses and the Amens after that

except before the sermon when the Amen for some weird reason is said.

Thursday practice the chants & hymns - boys about 8.15 those louts of men will slope in about 8.45 and make you mad - the only ones who can sing will be away; let the boys go by 9.30. If you like you can keep the louts on but there is no necessity.
Sunday, be there by 10.45

1. Short and easy voluntary
2. F# - no playing until after Lords prayer when:-
3. C for “O Lord” etc; do not accompany responses unless there are no tenors or something
4. Venite and Psalms as per list
5. Wait for banns then benedictus as per list
6. F# for creed
7. Hymn as per list
8. Give F# for Litany and play it or not as the Vicar reads or sings his part
9. Play Amens  only if Vicar reads instead of singing
10. Hymn as per list
11. Sermon; do not play Amen just before
12. Hymn; play all the Amens after the sermon
13. Amen after blessing 

14. Long and difficult voluntary

Sunday Evening.  Be there by 6.45.

1. process: hymn; do not play before this
2. Responses etc as in morning but give g. as they use the Ely confession.
3. Psalms as per list
Rest of service as in the morning.

I don't know what to do about the permanent job I shall see the Vicar tomorrow or possibly tonight; all I can say is keep the Presbyters waiting as long as you can without endangering your position there; since if you fall between two stools I shall feel morally bound to give you £30 a year out of my salary for the rest of your life which I do not at all want to do.
Try also and get hold of your testimonials - hire a burglar.
Yours always

R. Vaughan Williams

Proc (eve) 4 verses very slow
pause between verses

1. Holst was covering VW's post of organist at St Barnabas in South Lambeth. See VWL247, VWL245.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, f.13-16
General notes: 

This letter apparently follows VWL247 and VWL245.

Heirs and Rebels, Letter III.
Original database number: