Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to John Barbirolli

Letter No.: 
October 25th 1957.

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

Dear Glorious John

First, thank you a thousand times, once again, for leading your forces to such a superb victory.1
Second, give our fond love to Evelyn, who was so nice to us, and as usual, looked lovely.
Third, that was a wonderful supper, and the wine was so good that we, neither of us, had any hangover.
Fourth, I must apologise for telling a lie. Not indeed, to you, but to one of the guests, who asked me if I was writing a new symphony, and I said No, or rather, prevaricated.  As a matter of fact - I have a new symphony “in preparation” - whether it will go any further I shall settle soon. When you did me the honour to accept my number 8 for first performance Malcolm Sargent, almost at the same time, asked me for a new symphony for Edinburgh.  I told him that I had already promised one to you, and that I was incapable of twins at my age!  Now, the Royal Philharmonic Society has asked Malcolm to conduct one of their concerts and to include in it the first performance of a new work by me if there is one available.  So, if Malcolm likes my new tune he shall have it for this purpose.  I do hope that you and your wonderful men (and women) will one day give one of your superb performances of it.2
Love from us both to you both.


1.  The VWs had been in Manchester for the opening concert of the Halle's 100th season on 16 October, for which VW had written the Flourish for Glorious John, Catalogue of Works 1957/3. He was there again on 27 October for a concert to celebrate VW’s 85th birthday, consisting entirely of VW works (London symphony, the Wasps overture, the Tallis Fantasia, the Old 100th Fantasia and the Eighth Symphony, at which the Flourish was played for him as an encore. See R.V.W.: a biography, p.385, and Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.338-9.
2.  The Ninth symphony, Catalogue of Works 1957/4, received its first performance on 2 April 1958 at the Royal Festival Hall.

Location of original letter:

General notes: 

Typewritten, initalled.

Cobbe 727
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