Letter from Ursula Vaughan Williams to Michael and Eslyn Kennedy

Letter No.: 
[11 November 1957]


I was so glad to get your letter – Of course I’d been meaning to write, but I’ve been having flu, and unable for any sensible occupation.  Ralph has not had it, I am thankful to say.
The play-through went awfully well & we drank Margery’s magnum of champagne with it.1  Malcolm2 didn’t come – but we all traipsed off to his abode on Tuesday, & he was very excited about it.  Then we came home & I had flu!
It really is a very big one, & wonderful.  John3, as you might expect, wrote the warmest & most generous & loving letter about it, which made us both happy.
We are so very sorry about your dog.  I know how devastatingly sad one is to loose4 them – they have too short a life.
The only parallel to this space gadding I suppose is the early sailors starting out across the unknown sea.  I wonder what sort of Argonaut stories this will produce?  I rather think I shall become a Flat-Earther now, & require the earth to be balanced on an elephant, standing on a tortoise, standing on an egg.  I wonder if they’ll have to change the locations of Heaven & Hell?5
Ralph & Kiffer6 went to the Bermudas, but didn’t either of them like it much. Ralph also went to the Chelsea town Hall to hear ? 1st symphony – didn’t enjoy it, but thought there was something there.7  Tonight he & Gil are going to hear Harold Darke’s R. concert,8 tomorrow, to Princess Ida.  I miss everything, alas, this week. 
No other news, lots of love to you both from us both

1.  A ‘committee’ hearing of the Ninth Symphony (Catalogue of Works 1957/4) described in R.V.W.:a biography, p.385. Margery Cullen, was secretary of the Leith Hill Musical Festival.
2.  Malcolm Sargent  who was to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the first performance.
3.  John Barbirolli.
4.  sic.
5.  Yuri Gagarin had just completed the first flight in space.  An allusion to the design of a famous ancient map of the world.
6.  Christopher Finzi.  The Bermudas was a play by Iain Hamilton.
7.  MK can’t remember whose first symphony.
8.  The retirement concert of Harold Darke, the long standing organist of St Michael’s, Cornhill, for whose choir VW had written A Vision of Aeroplanes (Catalogue of Works 1956/1).

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, ff.195-197
General notes: 

Date taken from postmark.

Original database number: