Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael and Eslyn Kennedy

Letter No.: 
April 4th 1954.

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

My dear Michael and Eslyn,

I read your splendid notice in the Daily Telegraph.  You are right certainly in saying that the singers feel the Passion1 in their hearts as well as in their minds now.
It is wonderful to think you are coming to hear the Five T.Ps.2  I hope they will do it well, but they are finding it very difficult and rather out of their usual run.
As to Gloriana,3 I can’t pretend I got much out of it, and I think that dramatically, to include such a scene as that in the Queen’s bedroom, on such an occasion as the Gala, if it was not meant for a deliberate insult was a gross piece of insensitivity.
All love from both to both,


1.  Michael Kennedy had reviewed the Dorking performance of Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion in the Daily Telegraph.
2.  i.e. Five Tudor Portraits (Catalogue of Works 1935/5) to be done during the Leith Hill Musical Festival at Dorking.  It was in the event a ‘dashing performance’ (see R.V.W.: a biography, p.345).
3.  On the critical reception of Britten’s Gloriana see Robert Hewison, ‘“Happy were he”: Benjamin Britten and the Gloriana story’ and Antonia Malloy ‘Britten’s major setback? Aspects of the first critical response to Gloriana’ both in Paul Banks (ed.), Britten’s Gloriana: Essays and sources, Woodbridge 1993.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, f.43
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 630
Original database number: