Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Eugene Goossens

Letter No.: 
October 30th 1955.

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

Dear Goossens

I listened with much interest to your Apocalypse last night, especially as I once set some of these words myself.1 Of course Spohr has done the same thing, and Elgar told me that he was intending to do the same himself - so I am in good company.
I admired your four horsemen very much and also a choral number to, I think, Alleluia, which came soon after. Of course there can be no question of your skill and of your knowledge of choral and orchestral sounds which came through wonderfully, even over the wireless. I suppose you deliberately avoided the more spiritual aspect of the words which doubtless has often led us astray into sentimentality; you occasionally suggested Blake to me, but more often Hieronymus Bosch; after all they are both great masters.
I have to confess to disappointment with your setting of the Holy City - again you  may accuse me of being a sentimentalist.
I hope you will forgive my setting down these few impressions while they are fresh in my mind. Thank you and the BBC for letting us hear it.
No answer is expected of course.
Yours sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

1. VW's work was Sancta Civitas, Catalogue of Works 1925/6.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1176, f.106

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/21, ff. 192-193
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed, with manuscript additions.

Cobbe 663
Original database number: