Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Performing Right Society

Letter No.: 
VWL4005
December 15th 1957

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regent's Park,
London, N.W.1.

Dear Sir,
I venture to send you a quotation from a letter I have lately received from Mrs Gordon of Haddo House, Aberdeen.1 She writes -
"While naturally it is perfectly right and fair the composer should be well rewarded for his music, it does seem wrong that small societies should be charged on the same basis as larger ones."
Mrs Gordon then quotes a case of a Society which was charged £9 for two large scale choral works ... she continues:-
"As the Society only numbers 40, and the audience is never more than 200 at 3/6 a time you can imagine what this will mean."
I very much hope that on a suitable occasion you will bring this question up before your Committee. I fear that the practical results of your present policy will be that small and impecunious Societies will be prevented from being adventurous in their choice of music, and will be obliged to stick to non-copyright works, a state of things which will be bad for both the composer and the P.R.S. Speaking for myself, and I believe for many other composers, I should be willing to waive part of the performing fees whivh I recieve1 from these small, but bold, societies, and I believe that my publishers would be willing to do the same.
I know that the P.R.S. has the interests of the composer at heart, but I do believe that their best way of ...[letter incomplete]


1. June Gordon ('Lady Aberdeen') was a professional musician who married David Gordon, 4th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, and established the Haddo House Choral and Operatic Society at their home in Aberdeenshire.

Location of original letter:

General notes: 

Typewritten, signed. According to the Performing Right Society the remainder of the letter does not survive.
See VWL4006 and VWL4007 for further on this subject in correspondence with Harold Walter of the Performing Right Society.

Format: 
Letter