Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Adrian Boult

Letter No.: 
VWL5000
Oct 15 [1939]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,
Dorking.

Dear Adrian
I want to say a word about the BBC programmes - I admit that after the deplorable start things got a little better - But this week they are almost as bad - second rate serious music is (in present circumstances) useless (Saint Saens Goldmark etc)
You have a great opportunity of putting the very greatest music (doubtless familiar) before an eager but undiscriminating public. The best music grips everyone - some really bad music grips certain people - This halfway house stuff grips nobody (I include among great music anything from Bach to a splendid marching tune)
The result is that the discriminating are tuning to Germany for their music and the undiscriminating are perforce thrown back on the loathsome noises of Mr Sandy MacPherson. 1
Don't say its not your department - It is your department - the country looks up to you as the leader of Broadcast music
Refuse to conduct or let your subordinates conduct anything that is not first rate
If they won't listen to you threaten to resign - They would not dare to face such a scandal as that
Yrs
RVW

P.S. I have it in my mind to write to Ogilvie & the Times about this - but wd rather write to you first2


1. Sandy MacPherson was the BBC theatre organist from 1938 to 1963. 
2. VW did write to Frederick Ogilvie, Director-General of the BBC from 1938 to 1942; see VWL1609 and Ogilvie's reply which VW passed to Boult (VWL1618). 

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Music-related Autograph Collection Box 11, Folder V38 Letter 001
Format: 
Letter