Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Mrs Monier Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL2672
25th March, l953.

The White Gates,
Dorking, Surrey.

Dear Mrs Monier Williams1

You cannot be more sad than I am, at resigning or partly resigning from the Festival.  Please do not think it was a sudden decision; I have thought about it for at least four years now and I think I explained that to Miss Cullen.  For one thing I am getting very deaf and doubt how long I can go on conducting at all.  Secondly, it is obviously better for me to retire now than suddenly have to give up owing to being unable to do it, and it is really time someone else took on.2
I will conduct the Passion next year if I may and will remain your President if you will allow me to.3
I hate, on an occasion like this to make stipulations, but my undertaking to conduct the Passion must depend on your Committee being able to allow an adequate orchestra and adequate rehearsals.  Having reached such a high peak as we did at the last performance we cannot now descend from it.
Yrs sincerely

R Vaughan Williams

Mrs. Monier Williams,
Downside,
Epsom, Surrey.


1. Chairman of the Leith Hill Musical Festival.
2. One reason for resigning the conductorship of the Leith Hill Musical Festival was the plan to live in London.
3. VW continued to conduct performances of the Passions until 1958.

Location of original letter:

Location of copy:

General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 609
Original database number: 
530325