Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Sir Humphrey Milford

Letter No.: 
March 11 [1942]

The White Gates

Dear Sir Humphrey
Yesterday I had a visit from Dr. Stanton of the BBC asking me to be musical adviser to their hymn book.
What they propose is that the book when complete shall be sent to me for my approval. I said at once that as Editor of the English Hymnal and Songs of Praise I could not consider it without your approval. Given that I pointed out that:-
(1) I could not be an impartial judge having ties of affection and interest both to E.H. and to S. of P.
Stanton thought that this would not matter.
(2) That our original stipulation should stand - viz that no words over which we had control should be set to any other tune than that in S of P without the consent of you, Mr Dearmer, Martin1 and myself.
I pointed out that this stipulation was purely protective and would probably never come into play. But it does occur to me that if I become musical adviser I must have leave from all of you to exercize my judgement and not have to be continually referring to my co-editors.
I have suggested that they should send me the book when complete and that if on the whole I approve of it I will go ahead, (with your approval) but if I think it a bad book I shall refuse to be musical adviser, in which case I should think it my duty to advise you to refuse permission to include our copyrights, as we did in the case of E.H. and Hymns A & M. on the grounds that we did not want our tunes to appear in a bad book.
There was no mention of fee - (which is rather important these days)
Could you find out for me what fee, if any, the BBC propose to pay for my work as adviser?
Yours sincerely
R Vaughan Williams

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Shelfmark of original letter: 
BBC Hymn Book file I BD/ED/000096

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