Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alexander Burnard

Letter No.: 
VWL3989
[24 June 1933]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,
Dorking.

My Dear Friend
I am ashamed to say that being very lazy I have put off your parcel till I thought I should be able to examine it & see if I cd do anything with it.1
On opening it I found rather to my dismay that instead of being a proper vocal score (i.e. the voice parts with a pfte arrangement & the orchestra underneath) it was merely a transcription of the orchestra part - a thing which wd be no use to any conductor who wants to examine a work. I am sending it back & if you think it worth while make a proper vocal score (perhaps you could cut up your present version & paste the strips under the voice parts) - It will be wanted if the work is ever performed.
But I must repeat that I think it very little use sending it to any conductor here - there are so many works at present here which cannot get a hearing. Also I feel that though it was a splendid exercize for you and most courageous of you to undertake such an elaborate work - still I feel that your technique is really not yet up to work on such a big scale - Having gained all the invaluable experience which writing this has given you. Try your hand at something simple & melodious & well within your technical powers - I know this is the usual advice of an old man to a young one - & if I am proved wrong I shall be delighted. So if you like to send me a proper vocal score I will send it to some conductor & ask him to look at it.
I sent your songs to Keith Falkner2 who answered doubtfully about them but has not yet returned them
Yrs ever
R Vaughan Williams


1. Burnard had sent a score of his Allegro to VW for comment; see VWL3988.
2. See VWL1083 for VW's letter to Falkner. The songs were the Five Shakespeare songs for baritone and string quartet.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Alexander Burnard Papers
General notes: 

Date pencilled on envelope [by recipient?]

Format: 
Letter