Presentation of Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams to President A. Whitney Griswold by Dean Luther Noss.

Letter No.: 
[1 Dec 1954]

‘Mr President

Twenty-five years ago a friend and compatriot of our distinguished guest today spoke from this same platform on “The Teaching of Art”. Gustav Holst remarked in concluding his talk that “a picture, a poem, a symphony, a dance, a dress, or even a dinner must spring from a tradition and yet bring something fresh to the world if it is to be a work of art”.
It is our privilege today to be honoring one who for over sixty years has uncompromisingly followed this ideal - indeed one who has himself become one of the great musical traditions of our time. His music has touched the lives of all of us, whether it be his hymn-tunes, his songs, his choral music, or his symphonic masterpieces. Wherever music is heard in the Western world his name is respected as a symbol of all that we hold to be true and good in our art and in our profession.
One biographical account relates that he has, for the most part, characteristically avoided all honours. I am especially pleased therefore , Mr President, that I am permitted to present to you as candidate for the Henry Elias Howland Memorial Prize,1 Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams.’

1. The prize had been established at Yale in 1915 as an award for distinguished achievement in the fields of literature, the fine arts, or the theory of government and politics. The recipient received a sum of money and a Howland medal. It had been awarded to Gustav Holst in 1924 and Paul Hindemith in 1940; it was to be awarded subsequently to Aaron Copland in 1970 and Virgil Thomson in 1986.


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Shelfmark of original letter: 
Lb 73 V465/2
Cobbe 641
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