Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margery Cullen

Letter No.: 
May 26th 1958.

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

My dear Margery,
I have made the very sad decision that the performance of the Matthew Passion this year ought to be my last.  I am getting blind and deaf, and I find that to do the Passion on top of all the other things I am doing, is a little too much for me.  I have consulted my doctor (Rowntree) and he agrees that it is time to give up.  I can't tell you how much I feel it: but it had to come some time, and I think now is the time, after the glory of that splendid, recorded performance.1
I need hardly say that I shall always be here as a standby, and I will listen to rehearsals and performance, and can even take some of the Saturdays if you would like me to.
I know that with Tom Armstrong, and Bill Cole standing by, the Passion will go on and prosper.  It is a great wrench to stop after so many years, but this is one of the great penalties of old age, and one has to face it.  The one person we cannot get on without is you, so please don't you get old, - but I don't think you ever will.
You can read this letter out to the Committee if you wish, but if you read it, you are to read it ALL
Love from


1. On the recording see R.V.W.: a biography, p.389.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
LHMF Records
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 746
Original database number: