Letter from Ernest Irving to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
Sunday [21 March 1948]

Ealing Studios Limited
Ealing Green
London W 5

Dear V.W.
I listened attentively to both the broadcasts1, and enjoyed them very much.
The Partita is very hard on the back desks!  Your genuflection to Henry Hall only moves through 10 degrees of arc.
The Sancta Civitas is a great work, but though I can see Foss's idea in comparing it with El Greco I found it more in the style of Blake.
There was a sunset just like it tonight - perhaps you saw it - lemon-yellow to ivory with a straight eastward beam.
I expect you heard the work, but if not, you will be pleased to know that the dynamic effects all came off on the air - the antiphonal and unified singing of the various groups gave a marvellous feeling of multitudes and distance.
I had a curious thought that such arithmetical factors were out of place in eternity, but then realized that it was a vision and not a picture, the vision of a man, even if he was a saint.  [And that is why I think Foss may be wrong about El Greco.]
Don't bother to answer this - I just thought an intelligent listener's re-action might interest you.
Yours ever
Ernest Irving
[P.S. The strings, except basses, disappeared soon after the opening of S.C.]

1.  The first broadcast of the Partita was Saturday 20 March 1948.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/25, f.140