Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
January 3rd 1954.

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.

Dear Frank,1

In answer to all your letters,
1. Silence and Music: title. I return this with a few suggestions. It ought really to go to John Warrack, but I want to save 2½d.2
2. O.B.C. No. 18. I think the words “second tune” must refer to No. 3, which is another version of the same carol, but I think the note wants revising. As you know, the notes are Dearmer’s not mine or Martin’s.3
3.a. This Day. I guess 45 minutes, but I will try and time it out some time if I have a reliable copy by me. Perhaps Roy wd do it.4
b. I have written to Nancy and asked her if she can do a high A. If not I will alter or put an alternative note. I will alter “mezzo” to soprano.5
c. As regards Ursula’s contributions, she should be for these purposes Ursula Wood, and should be treated accordingly. I imagine, however, that I have to pay the necessary fees to my librettist. How much do think it ought to be?6 


I have received no cash from N.A.F.of New York: so I suppose it is an empty honour.7 

1. Music Editor in succession to Norman Peterkin (1947); Head of Music from 1954 until his retirement in 1975.
2. ‘Silence and Music’, a setting for mixed chorus of a poem by UVW was VW’s contribution to A Garland for the Queen (see Catalogue of Works 1953/1). A postage stamp at this time cost 2½d.
3. The Oxford Book of Carols (Catalogue of Works 1928/2) edited by Percy Dearmer, VW and Martin Shaw. 21 carols from The Oxford Book of Carols were arranged for soprano (or treble) and alto voices in two, three, and four parts, published by Oxford University Press in 1954 as English Traditional Carols. The Oxford Book of Carols nos 3 (‘As I sat on a sunny bank’) and 18 (‘I saw three ships’) are closely related with very similar tunes. The relevant part of the note in question reads: ‘Our second tune is from Sharp’s English Folk Carols’. In fact The Oxford Book of Carols doesn’t include a second tune for No.18.
4. This Day (Hodie) (Catalogue of Works 1954/3). The suggestion that Roy Douglas might time the work was added by VW as an afterthought. A pencil note was added at OUP: ‘Make it 50’ [A bad guess - the timing on modern recordings is actually 60 minutes].
5. Nancy Evans, the mezzo-soprano, was to take part in the first performance of Hodie at Worcester on 8th September 1954.
6. UVW had written the words for the ‘March of the Three Kings’, no.14, and for verse 2 of ‘Choral’, no.15, of This Day (Hodie), Catalogue of Works 1954/3. Frank suggested 4 guineas and paid her that amount on VW’s behalf - see VWL2795.
7. Possibly the National Academy Foundation.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 2008M
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Original database number: