Letter from Ursula Vaughan Williams to Michael Kennedy

Letter No.: 
February 10th [1955]

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

My dear Michael,

I’ve been meaning to write for days to say that your letter about John South1 seemed to me to be masterly – a properly written up case of social investigation - & I speak as an ex-social worker!  He does sound a good chap – I liked his letters from the first, and it will be exciting if he’s a wonderful new composer.  Anyway, I hope we shall meet him.
Birmingham went off very well and it was an exciting performance – now for St John:2
The only thing of Ralph’s at Dorking - & his only conducting this year – is the Wasps overture on the last night3  - & the only Hereford thing is Tallis.4  I think we shall give the three choirs a miss this year, as there doesn’t seem to be anything we want to hear at all. 
I can quite see how difficult it would be to write about Ralph’s seven5 – but I hope you will.
As to spring – I am about to order a load of manure.  We have aconites out, & the crocus, & the wych hazel – and if it wasn’t so wet I could do much out there, but it’s very heavy still.
No particular news.  We have been gadding a bit, Richard II & Prince Igor, & the Tippett opera.6
All love to you both – We are so glad that John7 has been forced to rest, but how difficult a process that must be.


1.  See VWL2988.
2.  The VWs had been to Birmingham for a performance of the Sea Symphony.  The annual Dorking performances of the Bach Passions (The St John Passion had been given as well as the St Matthew Passion since 1947) were now imminent.
3.  i.e. of the Leith Hill Musical Festival. Catalogue of Works 1909/2.
4. i.e. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (Catalogue of Works 1910/3).
5. i.e. about the seven symphonies. Michael Kennedy was eventually to write about VW’s complete oeuvre  in Works of Vaughan Williams.
6. i.e. The Midsummer Marriage, which opened 27 January 1955 at Covent Garden.
7.  John Barbirolli.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, ff.66-67
General notes: 

Year taken from postmark.

Original database number: