Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Grace Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL3848
[1930 or 1931]

The White Gates
Dorking

Dearest Grace
I sent the music etc off  to Stainer yesterday Tuesday & had an acknowledgement.
I wrote you a new testimonial which I thought might meet the case better
The preliminary examiners are Ireland & Theodore Holland so be prepared for the worst
I've been carefully through the sonata1 - I think the 2 last movements are lovely - the best thing you've done, dear Grace - The first movement puzzles me - but I tried to look at it from an examiners point of view & I think they wd  see strength & purpose behind it even if they don't like it (as they probably won't)
I feel the same about the 1st  movement of the suite2 - the other movements (especially the slow) I like very much
The Psalms you know I always liked & you have improved them. So good luck Grace, & don't be down-hearted - but don't expect too much - there are others in for this thing who have a certain slickness which you (thank God) don't possess and I fear examiners always go for that & not original thought.
I'm ... wondering whether your work's not getting too "cerebral" - I believe in romance & emotion & think you cannot get on without them (in your life as you realize - why not in your art) - don't get too much under the influence of Wellesz but keep your head & your own judgement - I wonder if you ought to leave him? I expect that will settle itself - but I shan't mind from that point of view.
I've had a very nice letter from E.W.3 saying very nice things about you - and also a little more guardedly about Russell.4
How do you think he is getting on - is he getting the good he hoped out of Wien.
Would you mind addressing this letter to Wellesz?
Now dearest Grace one more sermon - you won't get seriously involved with any of these damned furriners5 will you - Remember what it must be to them to come in contact with an English girl - you know what it is to meet an Englishman for the first time for months - they actually lose their heads when they meet any one so pretty & so clever & so attractive as you - but keep your heart for someone worthy who'll come along one day - I love to hear of your adventures & they are good for you & stimulate the imagination & the emotions - but don't take them too seriously.
Goodbye Grace - write to me again soon & tell me more adventures - perhaps I shall see you soon
love from
Uncle Ralph


1. Sonata for violin and piano (1930)
2. Suite for orchestra (1932)
3. Egon Wellesz, who was teaching Williams in Vienna.
4. Leslie Russell, a recipient (like Grace Williams) of the Octavia travelling scholarship. He went on to found the London Schools Symphony Orchestra.
5. i.e. foreigners

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Letter