Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ian Parrott

Letter No.: 
April 11th 1957.

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

Dear Dr. Parrott,1

I am so glad the opera went well.2 I hope I shall hear it one day.
I did not intend my fourth symphony to have any “meaning”, - that is a meaning which can be expressed in words; of course music has a meaning, but I think that can only be expressed in terms of music.  I know that some people try to narrow the effect of music to something visual or verbal.  To my mind, when they do so they make a horrible mess of it.
Yours sincerely

R  Vaughan Williams

1. At the time Gregynog Professor of Music at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth.
2. Ian Parrott’s opera The Black Ram which had been performed in a concert version by the Welsh Region of the BBC on 28th February. VW had made a contribution to the cost of publishing the vocal score by Curwen. According to a note in the hand of UVW, on the copy of the letter in the British Library, VW did not in fact ever hear the work.


Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/23, ff. 46-47
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 711
Original database number: