Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 

Dear V.

Here’s to C.M.1  I’ve just been through it for the 2nd time (that makes the 4th time altogether) & I like it more each time - most of it is beautiful & there are only one or two places I don’t care for which I shall not bother you with as they are merely matters of opinion.
However two general criticisms
(i)  Too many steigerungs on a pedal - I should cut out both the “To the Northward” ( p. 18) and “and see” (p. 10 of your copy) & keep only the big one before the temple scene which will gain much thereby.
(ii)  There’s perhaps rather too much wiggling on a chord of the 7th or something else with a persistent figure going.
One or two local criticisms
Introd. Too long & don’t like harmonisation of opening tune.
P.5-18 A1 except perhaps recitative passages.
18-24 Good except steigerung already mentioned
29-45 Good (But there is another steigerung on p.40)
48 onwards too much between the vocal bits
p.4 of your copy bad interrupted cadence (all this otherwise v. good except the dance p.8.)
also I feel inclined to cut p.14 and make the “tarry not” come quite differently
21 to end good (lots of it A1) but rather long
actual last 9 bars I don’t like.


1. The Cloud Messenger, op.30, H.111, for chorus and orchestra.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, ff.51-52
Heirs and Rebels, Letter XVI
Original database number: