Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Herbert Ellingford

Letter No.: 
VWL3337
February 23rd 1958.

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

Dear Dr Ellingford1,

Thank you so much for your letter.  My mild little letter to the Telegraph seems to have lit a candle that shall not easily be put out.  I am glad to think that an organist of your eminence disapproves of the “bubble and squeak” organ.2
Am I not right in thinking that in very early days, before you rose to fame, you were organist of St Barnabas South Lambeth, in succession to me?3
Yours sincerely,

R Vaughan Williams


1.  Formerly organist of  St George’s Hall, Liverpool. He had been a contemporary of VW at the Royal College of Music.
2.  VW had written to the Daily Telegraph (20 February 1958) about the relative merits of the harpsichord and pianoforte as a continuo instrument in response to criticism by John Warrack of his use of the piano in the St John Passion at Dorking. See VWL3340. VW alludes to Hugh Latimer's remark to Nicholas Ridley in 1555, made as they were both about to be burnt at the stake for heresy: 'We shall this day light such a candle as by God's grace in England (I trust) shall never be put out'.
3.  Ellingford replied on 25 February (see copy in British Library, MS Mus. 1714/1/23, f. 110) that it had not been him - nor had he ever taken a D.Mus. However in an earlier correspondence (see VWL892) VW remembered him as having once deputised for him at the church. His objection to baroque-style organs was their lack of foundation tone. It was not what he remembered of organs he had played in Leipzig in 1938.

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/23, f. 109
Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 736
Original database number: 
580223a