Letter from from Ernest Irving to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
9th January, 1948.

Thank you for the scores which I devoured with avidity.
Regarding the main titles, there should be no difficulty whatever in making these sound exactly as they look. Considering that you have placed yourself in Statu pupillari the orchestration is most promising. In fact, I could not have done it better myself. I should like to record them on February 6th in the afternoon at Denham, also the vocal section which follows. Will you please let me know who you would like to sing the solo and how many voices you would like in the choir?
Major Meade can remain for you a name as the Indian Chanty has disappeared from the opus and the Major’s co-operation with it. For your information, he is a very nice man and a great authority on matter Persian, Turkish and Arabian, besides being a middle ranking minor poet.
I quite agree with your point about the military march. “Land of Hope & Glory”, however, would be wrong for the situation, which demands a bright 6/8. I cannot think of any English march of the period sufficiently well known to the present generation of filmgoers to immunize you, but as the band is in dim perpective, we can photograph them to the rhythm of “The Queen’s birthday”. Then, if you disapprove of the result, we can dub any 6/8 march of which everybody approves, or, alternatively, you could write one yourself if you feel in light hearted or penguinesque mood.
Regarding the timings, I am afraid no amount of bullying on my part will produce measurements of film that has not yet been shot, so you will be “walking in darkness” (though not necessarily in B minor1) for some while yet. It is quite likely that when the film is cut, you may wish to synchonize some of the happenings a little closer than it is possible to do before shooting. This may involve, beside the carpentry and juggling which I can bring to your aid, some structural alterations which will need your personal attention, but we cannot deal with that for some months and it is a good thing to get all the music we can into the score.

1.  The key of the well-known aria in Handel's Messiah.


Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/17, ff. 84-85
General notes: 

Carbon copy, typewritten.

Cobbe 491
Original database number: