Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to René Gatty

Letter No.: 
VWL299
Jan: 29th [?1899]

Dear Herr Gatty,

I haven’t written to you for an age - never even thanked you for your Xmas card which we were very pleased to get, but we have heard of you from Nick - I also saw a letter of yours all about the Steirische Gesang Verein1 - how I wish there was a good choral society in London - we have only 3 - The Albert Hall & the Queen’s Hall - which can sing but do not and the Bach Choir which does good things but can’t sing.
What operas have you been to - some Wagners I hope - you mustn’t form your opinions on the barren offshoots instead of going to the parent tree.  I think Kraus is engaged in Berlin now isn’t he?2 
How is Bruch - do you hear or see anything of him now?
Ivor was in London a little while ago and told us all about the choral society.3 He had to go home suddenly and rescue the society from the clutches of Eddy (?) Bennett.  I hear you are going to make them do the ‘Song of Miriam’.4  Do you like it - it seems to me to be rather dull what I know of it.
I suppose you know of Nick’s organ appointment.5 I’m afraid he doesn’t care for it very much but I think a little routine work is good for everyone - even a composer.
My choral society6 had a most successful show the other day.  We did Mendelssohn’s 95th Psalm as the chief thing and Brahms’ ‘How Lovely’  and Sullivan’s ‘O Gladsome Light’ as side dishes.
Yours always

R. Vaughan Williams


1.  Untraced.
2.  Ernst Kraus had been engaged in 1896 as the leading Heldentenor at the Berlin Opera.
3.  i.e. at Hooton Roberts.
4.  Miriams Siegesgesang by Schubert, D942.
5.  Nicholas Gatty was organist to the Duke of York's Royal Military School in Chelsea.
6.  VW ran a choral society at St Barnabas Church, Lambeth.
7.`Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen' from Ein Deutsches Requiem.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS 135

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/2, ff.12-13
Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
990129