Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Imogen Holst

Letter No.: 
Oct 13 [1957]

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

Dearest Imogen

I love those songs & love hearing them.1 I believe I conducted the 1st performances of “Assemble” with the Bach choir2 - the solo was sung by Dora Labette - I do not suppose you remember her - Not only had she a beautiful voice & style but her diction when she sang was perfect - but when she spoke!! At rehearsal she sang her opening 2nd phrase beautifully - words perfect - but the choir were [a] little flat leading up to her so she turned to me and said “Look ’ere if thaose wimmen cain’t sing in toon, ’ow the dooce am Oi to kem in” !3
All love dear Imogen

Uncle Ralph

1. Gustav Holst, Seven part-songs, op.44 H.162, written in 1925-6.
2. ‘Assemble, all ye maidens’, the last of the set, was first performed by the Bach choir under VW on 24th May 1927 at the Queen’s Hall.
3. Dora Labbette, English soprano, who sang in opera as Lisa Perli.

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Year added by Imogen Holst.

Cobbe 723
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