Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael and Eslyn Kennedy

Letter No.: 
March 2nd 1954.

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

Dear Michael and Eslyn,

I can hardly tell you what pleasure your letter has given us both.  If you had been, like we were, at the earlier rehearsals, you would have been even more amazed at the almost miraculous final result.1  I am so glad about what you say, that it is essentially a stage work, and I am so frightened of it finishing up in the Parish hall.  But this was a stage performance, in the best sense of the word, though not conventionally of the stage.
It was such a pleasure to see you again, and I feel more touched than I can say that you both should have taken that long and arduous journey in order to hear a tune by me.
We had a very good performance of St John on Saturday.  The chorus howled like Whipsnade2 where necessary. 
Here are your St Matthew tickets.  It will be splendid to see you again at Dorking.

Love from us both

Uncle Ralph

P.S.  I saw Marianne on Saturday, and she said that you had made Manchester absolutely lovely for her, and that she was enjoying her life tremendously thanks to you both.3

love U.

If you want a meal in Dorking, we can heartily recommend the Star, in West Street, just opposite the Fire Station.  It has fine food going on all day, and is very warm, and very friendly.

Not Star & Garter

You will be sitting next to Anthony Asquith4 (14 & 15.)

1.  i.e. of the Cambridge production of The Pilgrim’s Progress (Catalogue of Works 1951/1). On UVW’s (and presumably VW’s) misgivings about the production see VWL2764.
2. i.e. like the animals at Whipsnade Zoo.
3. i.e. Marianne Hornstein - see VWL2753.
4. Anthony Asquith was a friend of VW’s associated with London Films, but, according to Michael Kennedy, didn’t turn up.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, ff.41-42
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed by VW.  UVW's postscripts with pencilled additions by UVW.
For a handbill of the performance of the St Matthew Passion see MS Mus. 159, f.42.
This letter printed in part in Michael Kennedy, Working with Vaughan Williams, p.383.

Cobbe 628
Original database number: