Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margaret Longman

Letter No.: 

10 Madingley Road

Dear Miss Longman

Please forgive my being so slow in answering - I feel much drawn towards your scenario - & music, I feel, might quite possibly occur to me for it one day - but one can never be certain - so if you know of anyone else meanwhile who wants to set it straight away he (or she) had better do so. Meanwhile have you a more detailed scheme that I could see.1
One or two points occur to me - I think the whole thing ought to be quite short & in one scene - one cd I think arrange this by conventionalising the whole thing and having a double (or triple) stage each one a few steps higher than the other - on the lowest stage wd be the magician in his little hut - on the middle one the young woman would come on and dance - on the highest one wd be the trees where the voice is.
Also I don’t quite like the owner of the voice finally appearing - it will take away the mystery - I think it cd be suggested by a bright light or something of that kind.
I must say once again what enormous pleasure your singing gave me and everyone last Saturday.2
Yrs very sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

1. The scenario, by Margaret Longman and Angela Hubbard, was entitled The voice in the wood: ‘Through many thousands of years a Voice has been heard singing in the Wood, but no man has ever seen the singer ...’ It is clear from VWL468 that VW made a start on the music for this ballet but soon abandoned the project, finding it uncongenial. He used some of the music in the Pastoral Symphony.
2. Margaret Longman was a singer who often assisted VW by providing illustrations  when he lectured on folksong (see R.V.W.: a biography, p.105)


Location of original letter:

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus.1714/1/5, f.177-178
General notes: 

Sent from the home of E.J. Dent, which the VWs took periodically.

Cobbe 117
Original database number: