Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael Kennedy

Letter No.: 
Jan 13 1955

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

Dear Michael

I have put off answering your letter because I thought it a good plan to ponder & see if I could find useful advice.
My advice for what it is worth is to stay in Manchester – you will soon be king of the castle there & in London at first at all events only one of a crowd - & what a crowd!  You have not such a great quantity of music in Manchester – but what quality! – But I quite understand your wanting to come to London – and it wd be lovely to have you.1
Thank you so much for what you say about “Hodie” especially the “Kings” (which was an afterthought!)2
I am glad you like Ursula’s poems – so do I!3
As regards Delius – I think anyone who could write the wedding scene from Romeo & Juliet (not the Paradise Garden) entitles Delius to be a great composer – for the rest he smells rather too much of the restaurant. 
I liked your ‘best man’ photograph so much – Eslyn looked prettier even than usual  (please tell her this from me[)]. 
All I know about Birmingham is that it starts a 6.25 – but where I do not know.4
All our love to both of you.


1.  Kennedy did not recall this episode.
2.  Hodie, Catalogue of Works 1954/3, was to have its first London performance on 19 January.  The ‘March of the Three Kings’, is no.14.
3.  Nos 14 and 15 (second verse of ‘Choral’ ) of Hodie are settings of poems by UVW.
4.  The VWs were going to Birmingham to hear a performance of the Sea Symphony by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, ff.62-63
Cobbe 642
Original database number: