Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Bush

Letter No.: 
March 20th 1955.

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

Dear Bush,

(May we stop Doctoring each other?  at all events when we are not engaged in political controversy, so you may tell, if you get a letter from me, starting dear Dr Bush, I am going to be nasty.  But now let us turn to the real things of life.)
Thank you very much for the programme and the account of the concert.  It was splendid of you to advance the cause of your fellow English musicians in this way.1
I wish I could hear your opera: it is a scandal that so many fine operas, like yours and Arthur Benjamin’s Tale of Two Cities, to mention only two, do not take their rightful place on the stage of our national theatre, when they are welcome abroad.  At the Stanford centenary, when in France or Germany every opera house would have put on a Stanford opera – had he belonged to them – we in England ignored Shamus O’Brien at Sadlers Wells (was this for political reasons?!) and Much Ado about Nothing at Covent Garden (one would have thought in this case that the words ‘about Nothing’ would have saved the situation.)  Let us hope for better things soon.2
Yours sincerely,

R Vaughan Williams

1.  Bush often included VW's and other British compositions in concerts he conducted in East Germany and the USSR.
2.  Bush had also told him of a performance his opera Wat Tyler.  VW eventually heard a performance of the work at the Camden Theatre on 9 December 1956.

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Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 647
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