Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Rupert Erlebach

Letter No.: 
October 11th 1953.

10 Hanover Terrace. N.W.1.

Dear Erlebach,1

I’m afraid your screed won’t do.  I cannot remember saying a good deal of it, & much of it is incorrect.  I think the only thing to do is to have one short paragraph, as follows:-
Dr Vaughan Williams, in a short speech, refered2 to Stanford’s distinction both as composer, teacher and conductor.  He gave reminiscences of his personal experiences of Stanford, and also some he had learned, by hear-say, of earlier years.  His opinion was that a composer of Stanford’s calibre, if he had been German or Italian would have been celebrated in every opera house in his country.  But in England, instead of Much Ado or Shamus O’Brien, we were content to resuscitate Norma and Samson and Delilah.3

This is, as far as I can remember, some of what I did say.  It will be found more fully in my new book.4
Yours sincerely,

R Vaughan Williams

R. Vaughan Williams.

1. Secretary to the Royal Musical Association.
2. sic.
3. Typewritten in red ink.  Printed, slightly edited, in The Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, vol. LXXIX (1953), p. 31.
4. ‘Charles Villiers Stanford’ in Some thoughts on Beethoven’s Choral Symphony with writings on other musical subjects (London, Oxford University Press, 1953). The piece was originally written for a broadcast on the General Overseas Service in September 1952, to mark the centenary of Stanford’s birth (for text of broadcast, see VWL2475).


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 71064, f. 117
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 620
Original database number: