Letter from Sir Arthur Penn to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
August 4th. 1955.

Clarence House

Dear Dr. Vaughan Williams,

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother visited Norfolk last week in order, amongst other things, to attend the King’s Lynn Festival, and I was yesterday talking to her about that very agreeable experience.
In retrospect, she recalled that the item, in the varied programme which always distinguishes this Festival, which gave her the greatest pleasure, was the performance, by the Hallé Orchestra, of your Five Variants on “Dives and Lazarus”.1 It was for Her Majesty a renewed pleasure, since she had heard it before, and she has always borne in her mind the beauty of its orchestration.
This, and her fondness for your work, of which a personal example was available to her only a few years ago at King’s Lynn,  combined to enhance her contentment, and she has asked me to send you this message of appreciation, with her good wishes.
Yours sincerely

Arthur Penn

Treasurer to
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

P.S.  I wonder if you could tell me whether this work of yours has ever been recorded?  I have looked for it in such catalogues as I possess, but it is possible that it is not revealed in some comprehensive title.

Dr. Ralph Vaughan Williams, O.M.,
10 Hanover Terrace,

1. Catalogue of Works 1939/2.
2. In 1952 at the King’s Lynn Festival, when VW gave a lecture on folksong with the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in the audience. See R.V.W.: a biography, pp.323-324.

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Typewritten, signed.

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