Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gilbert Murray

Letter No.: 
VWL374
Nov.6.11

13 Cheyne Walk
 S.W.

Dear Professor Murray

I am getting on slowly with some Greek Play music - I have done two Electra choruses & am finishing two Bacchae choruses and have notes for several more. I have had several interviews with the Duncans - but no one seems to know what is wanted exactly - I wish I did. The problem gets more insoluble the more I work on it. I tried setting them in the way I suggested to you - a sort of chant without any accompaniment - but it did not seem to work altogether - I have tried other parts in a more operatic method - the result is rather a mixture - the only way I think will be a sort of trial performance of some of the music when it is ready. I can’t hope to satisfy you & Miss Duncan and Augustine (who wants the choruses spoken!).
I want to ask you a lot about the Bacchae choruses - whether all the big choruses should be sung throughout - or whether part spoken & what bits shd be murmured & what parts declaimed.
Are you ever in London - cd we meet - if not cd I come & see you in Oxford one day[?]
Yours very truly

R. Vaughan Williams


1. Isadora Duncan and her brother, Augustin. See Duncan Wilson, Gilbert Murray OM (Oxford 1987), p.170 where part of this letter is quoted.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Gilbert Murray 19, f. 43-44
Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 74
Original database number: 
111106