Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
August 14th 1955.

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

Dear Frank,

I send herewith Roy Douglas’s arrangement (pianoforte) of On Christmas Night, with full stage directions.  Do you think there is any chance you could approach any of the companies which do Christmas entertainments, and see if they would consider it?  I daresay you will remember that Hubert Foss was very keen about it, but in deference to Adolph Bolm I left out Marley’s ghost and tiny Tim, and that is the reason, I think, why no one would take it. This has now been rectified.  I also enclose the full score.  I think the new bits ought to be recopied, namely pages 4, 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f, 4g, 4h, 4i, 4k, 4l, 4m, 4n, 4o, 4p, 4q, 4r, 4s, 11, 12, 13, 23, 100a, 100b, 100c, 101.1  The parts should also be rectified to correspond.  Could one of your copyists do this, at my expense, of course.  Roy will, I hope be busy with my symphony after his holiday.  Anyway, he is too good for this kind of work in my opinion.
I am also sending the so-called chorus score of Bridal Day: it is pretty hopeless as it stands and I have re-done it: the question is whether your copyist should patch up the existing copies to fit, or start again from the beginning?  I incline to the latter.  Bernard Shore expressed himself as very keen about it, so I have told him to get the copy of the pianoforte arrangement from you.2
Now, in answer to your two letters. I am very glad to hear about S.O.L.3 in America, and so is Ursula.  The score is now with Draper of Charterhouse who is making suggestions for re-scoring for school orchestra.  When he sends that in I shall re-score it, also make, possibly a few alterations in the chorus parts and a few cuts; when that is done, may we discuss the possibility of a re-issue?
Personally, I think it is a good work, and that it hasn’t had a fair deal yet.  Ursula wants to know if you have had any criticisms of the words: Bernard Shore gave me a dark hint that they were not liked by Public Schoolboys.
Now as regards the Tonescript - if I remember right, I did not see much point in it, but I have no objection to his using the first page of my No 6 for his unholy purposes.4
We shall be away on holiday abroad from September 3rd to October 1st, and nominally no letters will be forwarded as Gilmour Jenkins will also be away, and we shall be far too busy with Oracles and Ruins to answer, anyway!5


1.  Note on letter: "in hand CM, 10 Oct .55".
2.  Catalogue of Works 1938/6.
3.  Sons of Light, Catalogue of Works 1950/3.  For a discussion about its merits between VW and Gerald Finzi see VWL2490 and VWL2491.
4.  Presumably refers to a request to reproduce the first page of either the printed or manuscript full score of the Sixth Symphony for some graphic purpose.
5.  The VWs were going to Greece.



Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 119M
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Original database number: