Letter from Charles Villiers Stanford to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL508
March 8. 23

9, Lower Berkeley Street,
Portman Square, W.1.

My dear Vaughan Williams,

You will forgive me for sending you a word of congratulation on last night’s performance of the Bach.1 It was so dignified & pious (not ‘pi’) all through: & the points were so exactly what J.S.B. meant.  The only things I felt were that the Trumpet was out of the picture!2 & for me, the Jesus was too emotionally sung.  I remember the greatest in it, Stockhausen,3 & the only moment when he was emotional was ‘Eli, Eli’, which made it doubly thrilling! But this is only my own view, with which you may or may not agree.  Meantime, I say thank you very heartily - & after all my great ancestor W.S.B4 was the father of doing it here at all!
Yrs very sincerely

C.V. Stanford


1. VW had conducted Bach’s St Matthew Passion for the first time, with the Bach Choir on 7th March.
2. VW used a very soft trumpet to support the ripieno chorus part.
3. Julius Stockhausen, German baritone.
4. William Sterndale Bennett was Director of the Bach Society and conducted the first English performance of the St Matthew Passion on 6th April 1854. Printed in full in R.V.W.: a biography, p.148-149.

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/6, f.97
Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
230308a