Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
February 15th 1958.

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

Dear Alan,

With regard to your first letter of February 10th, - as you know, I had nothing to do with the words of the Oxford Carol book, so I fear I cannot help Mr Attwater solve his problem, so I return his letter.1
In answer to your second letter, February 14th, I can tell you very little about the MS of my symphonies. Sea Symphony is probably Breitkopf & Hartel - or Stainer and Bell. London Symphony was sent to Fritz Busch at Aachen, just as war broke out in 1914, and never returned. A new score was made from the parts by various friends, including George Butterworth, but very little of it is in my handwriting: I imagine it is with Stainer and Bell. Pastoral I think must be with Adrian Boult. Four  was dedicated to Arnold Bax, and I think I sent it to him: I expect Harriet Cohen could tell you. Five , according to your letter is at the R.C.M. 6 was dedicated to Michael Mullinar, so I think he has it. 7, Antartica was given to Ernest Irving, and I think he gave it to the BM. 8 - Barbirolli.2
My own feeling is that we ought only to show the MS. of the new one, 9, - but who ever does that I should like them to show the whole of the scaffolding, so to speak, including about 12 rough notebooks and a rough full score, 2 rough copies in some cases. Then the final, so-called fair copy, which Roy Douglas used. This will not be available till after March 21st, when I shall probably want it for myself. As I say, with regard to this no 9. its a case of all or nothing: I usually destroy my rough copies, but I have kept these as I thought it might be useful to show the scaffolding.3 It is dedicated, as you know, to the Phil - personally, I would prefer to give it to the FitzWilliam Museum, Cambridge.
I will try and get some programme notes done before the end of the month, but it is rather difficult without a fair copy of the full score. At present I only have two movements with me.


1.  The words of the Oxford Book of Carols had been edited by Percy Dearmer. 'Mt Attwater' is possibly the church historian Donald Attwater.
2.  There had been a suggestion that there should be an exhibition of the autograph scores of all VW’s symphonies at the Royal Festival Hall at the time of the first performance of the Ninth Symphony. All the autograph full scores of the symphonies are now in the British Library with the exceptions of that of A London Symphony, which has never come to light in Germany, and of the Fifth Symphony which is at the Royal College of Music. In fact Ernest Irving gave the score of Sinfonia Antartica to the Royal Philharmonic Society from whom it was acquired by the British Library.
3.  The Ninth Symphony is dedicated to the Royal Philarmonic Society. Most of the preliminary sketch material which VW describes is now, together with the autograph full score, in the British Library,  Add. MSS 50378-84.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 810E
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 734
Original database number: