Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Grace Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL3894
[1930]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,
Dorking.

Dear Grace
I've read your long letter 3 times. I rejoice to think you are getting every moment of good out of your stay (this sounds priggish but you know what I mean)
I'm very sorry about one thing & that's your 3rd pianist
I was fearfully interested in all you tell me about Wellesz & all the schools & theories - but I can't help feeling that it's all wrong. I rather hate all this talk about tendencies etc - the best composer is the one who has the most beautiful melody, the strongest harmony, the most vital rhythm & the most convincing form - & nothing else matters
That's why I think Dvorak is a greater composer than Berlioz - in spite of B "representing" this & that & the other & D. not having the mind to 'represent' anything - but Dvorak wrote heavenly tunes while Berlioz never wrote a tune that wdnt make a cat laugh.
Bax's new Symphony is superb - I quite agree with what you say about Mahler & Bruckner
I'm rather ashamed of my self that I never introduced you to the Schubert 5tet - I though you knew it
Goodbye dear Grace - write again soon - I love your letters
Yrs
Uncle Ralph

I see you're with Betty. I've written to her - I feel so proud about you both1


1. Elizabeth Maconchy, a fellow pupil of VW.

Location of original letter:

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General notes: 

Written in 1930, when Williams had started to study in Vienna with Wellesz. The Bax symphony referred to had its premiere in March 1930.

Format: 
Letter