Letter from Ernest Irving to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL2736
19th October 1953

Ernest Irving
The Lawn
Ealing Green, W.5.

Private
Confidential

Dear Ralph

I was very pleased to get your letter this morning with the enclosure from Goossens.  I will have two copies of his letter made and return the original to you.  I will also do what I can about Mr. Gerald Williams and will speak to Michael Balcon about him.1
I think I told you that since May first I have been on the shelf as far as active work at Ealing Studio is concerned; Dock Mathieson2 has taken my place and I have been appointed to what looks like being the sinecure of Musical Consultant. Dock is not really a very sound musician and I am helping him to repel attacks from all quarters on the job of musical director at Ealing.  The most dangerous competitor is Benjamin Frankel who is clever, cunning, and Jewish.  He is writing the music for the film at present on the floor which is called “The Love Lottery”.
I have been stuck here in bed since April but have managed to finish my comic operetta “The ’Orse” and about 60,000 words towards my book of Memoirs.  I have had to knock off work for a week or so as I have been very seedy but shall start again as soon as I can, as my job of Musical Consultant if it does not give me much to do, doesn’t bring in much money either.
I am sorry about the birthday greeting but if there is anything wrong with the scancion [sic] it is the fault of the post office telegraph and if you will send the wire back the next time you write I will fit it to the tune. 
 I think Sir R. Grant’s words to Hanover “O Worship the King” are the finest in the whole hymn book and make a grand banner for anyone with any kind of creed.3
With love to you both,

Ernest Irving


1. Williams not identified. Balcon was a film producer.
2. Dock Mathieson (brother of the film conductor Muir Mathieson) was orchestrator, arranger and conductor at Ealing studios for many years, and Irving’s successor as Musical Director at Ealing Studios.
3. Robert Grant's words and the Hanover tune; this refers to a telegram (British Library MS Mus 1714/1/20, ff. 150–60) that Irving had sent VW on 13 October 1953 for his 81st birthday. The text reads: "HOW HAPPY TO BE THE FOURTH POWER OF THREE TO THINK MAKE AND SEE IN OLD EUPHONY NO JARRING ATONAL NO TWELVE-TONE GRIMACE FULL DIAPASONAL STRONG COUNTERPOINTS BASE STOP CANT AFFORD ANY MORE STOP IF URSULA WANTS TO SING IT THE TUNE IS HANOVER STOP SORRY ITS A LITTLE LATE OWING TO DIAPASONAL FULL STOP = ERNEST"

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/20
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
531019