Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 
VWL264
[Late July 1899]

Hawgoods Temperance Hotel
Bramber
Sussex

Dear V.H.

This isn’t really a hotel but a refreshment room and tea gardens with apartments attached. We stay here any way till Friday and perhaps a week more. I think it is a good place for work. I have done 4 pages of full score today which is rather good for me.1
We have just come from a most magnificent evening walk - first a sunset seen from the downs - then blue twilight then stars and nearly losing our way and then home.
Do send me some more of your adorable programmes - I laughed out loud for a whole day over that one. I do hope your hand is really better - your looking glass style2 is magnificent.
I spent Sunday and Saturday evening with Howard Jones3 and we walked about and sat on gates till 12 p.m. and talked about music and organs and success and other incongruous subjects. He wants you to write to him but I explained that your hand was too bad. He is very much excited over playing to D’Albert.4
I will write to Gatty about Granville-Whitman (no I mean Walt-Bantock5)  - Gatty’s variations were badly played and splendidly reviewed.6
Yrs

R.V.W.


1. This was probably either for the Mass written for his Mus. Doc., Catalogue of Works 1899/F, or the Serenade for small orchestra in A minor, Catalogue of Works 1898/1.
2. i.e. of handwriting with the left hand. Holst had persistent neuritis in his right arm.
3. Evlyn Howard-Jones, one of VW and Holst’s circle at the Royal College of Music and later a successful pianist.
4. Howard-Jones went to study with d’Albert after finishing in the Royal College of Music.
5. It is not clear what the link between Walt Whitman and Granville Bantock was that gave rise to this joke.
6. Referring to a concert in which Gatty's Variations on Old King Cole for orchestra were played; see The Musical Times, 1 August, 1899.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, ff. 6-7
General notes: 

Not included in Heirs and Rebels.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 20
Original database number: 
9807xxa