Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Louis Boyd Neel

Letter No.: 
[late 1940]

The White Gates

Dear Boyd Neel
I was very pleased to get your letter for I was getting rather in despair. I had to send the notices out without the name of any soloist - also I had to put myself down as co-conductor without asking you as Miss Glasgow thought it would increase local interest.1
It would be very good if the Griller 4tet could come and any good singer who fits in well with a string orchestra.
As regards programme - I think it good except I am doubtful about Mr Abel who I don't know - Our Dorking audiences are not so well versed in the classics that we need go into the byways. What about the "Kleine Nachtmusik" or the Brandenburg String Concerto or would Griller or your leader or both play one of the Bachs or the Double Concerto?
The question remains what of all this am I to conduct - The Grieg seems the only possible thing I could tackle - unless indeed it would rouse local interest to do something by me - What about Dives and Lazarus (12 minutes) - only that requires a harp - Could we run to that? or faute de mieux play the harp part on the piano? We could provide a good pianist locally but it takes up room and I fear anyway you may have a little platform difficulty. If all else fails I suppose we must fall back on the Charterhouse Suite. Now - a better notion occurs to me - not do anything by me but do either St Paul's or Brook Green Suite. I think I could conduct either of these without going on after they had stopped playing.
The concert starts at 2.30 and they ought to be out of the hall by 4.30. You could have the hall for rehearsal on Sunday morning - The County Schools Hall is quite near to the Dorking North Station. It holds rather less than 500.
I have been talking to Miss Glasgow about transport & feeding arrangements for the orchestra - You can't feed 20 people at a moment's notice on Sunday in Dorking. Please get into touch with Miss Glasgow and let us know about these two points.
I rang you up yesterday evening as directed - but found you were gone and the address at Sunbury which I was given did not seem to exist.
Do you insist on printed programmes? Miss Glasgow thought that owing to War economy & paper shortage they were not necessary. If I hear in time I can get the chief items of the programme and name of the soloist into the local press advertisement.
Yours sincerely
R Vaughan Williams

1. Mary Glasgow was Secretary of the Arts Council and had been seconded from the Ministry of Education to CEMA, the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, which was formed in 1940 and supported a concert in November 1940. See VWL1470.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Boyd Neel fonds, Box 3, F. 7
General notes: 

In the hand of AVW, signed by VW.