Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Arnold Barter

Letter No.: 
VWL369
Apr. 29/11

13 Cheyne Walk
Chelsea, S.W.

Dear Mr Barter

When I received your letter this morning I thought that I could read between the lines and guessed that the performance of my ‘Sea Symphony’ had been quite first rate.  This guess of mine is now corroborated1 by the testimony of a niece of mine of whose musical judgement I have a very high opinion, and who has heard the work both at Leeds and Oxford - she was present at your performance on Wednesday and says it was the nicest performance she has heard - “The chorus so fresh and lovely in its tone - the band small but so good and the whole thing so spontaneous and vigorous”.2
Now, first I want to thank you for all the immense labour and thought you have expended over the work, and for using all that musical capacity and insight, which I know you must possess, to secure such a fine rendering.
Secondly I want you kindly to convey my very best thanks to the choir for their splendid determination to give a new work the very best possible chance.  I know from bitter experience how hard the work is, and I know what self denial all those extra rehearsals must have entailed.  I only hope that the success of their efforts has been some reward to them
And thirdly I must thank your orchestra who behaved like true artists in giving an extra rehearsal and thus contributing so much to the total success.
It is a great pleasure and encouragement to feel that my work has given pleasure to you and your performers. I hope I may one day have the pleasure of hearing your choir sing.
I thought that the two soloists you chose were quite excellent.
Thanking you once again
I remain yours very truly

R. Vaughan Williams


1.  The version printed in R.V.W.: a biography erroneously reads ‘confirmed’ here.
2. UVW (R.V.W.: a biography, p.96) suggests that the niece in question was Ermengard Maitland.

Shelfmark of original letter: 
DM433

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/4, ff. 61-64
General notes: 

Note of the date in the hand of the recipient.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 68; R.V.W.: a biography, p.96
Original database number: 
110429