Letter from Carl Stoeckel to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL588
June 16th, 1925.

Norfolk, Connecticut.

My dear friend:-

I send you my thanks for your kind and interesting letter.  How well I remember old Prag with its eternal light on the bridge and I wonder if it still shines.  I was truly glad to hear of the production of your “Pastoral” symphony there and trust it was well done.1 I remember over thirty years ago going to a concert there when some fine works by Dvorak and Smetana were given and I thought the people showed an advanced and cultivated taste in music.  Fear not for the “Pastoral” symphony.  I believe it will be done more and more and that the opinions and predictions of Aldrich and Gillman2 will come true.  I have not heard anything of Bela Bartok but during the past twenty years I have heard a great mass of orchestral stuff from all lands which appalled and disheartened me and I well remember the afternoon of joy and satisfaction which I got from my first hearing of the London symphony and I wanted to take the next boat to London and ask the privilege of taking your hand.  In the London and the Pastoral, in their sincerity, feeling and truth, you have given the world a new morning star which will shine brighter with every year.
What a lucky man you are about photographs.  It is a fine picture but tell Mrs.  Williams that it looks old enough to be your father, and it is a good one to have on hand to send to girl admirers who will be immensely pleased when they meet the original.3
I was glad my cousin Wehner could have a glimpse of Mrs Williams and you.  He greatly enjoyed his call of which he wrote me.
My wife joins with me in love to Mrs. Williams and to you.
I am
sincerely yours,

Carl Stoeckel

P.S.  Mr. and Mrs. Witherspoon were staying in town and said she would love to have been in Prag to have sung the Pastoral for you.

Mr. R. Vaughan Williams,
13 Cheyne Walk,
Chelsea,
London,
England


1. Stoeckel was the sponsor of the Litchfield Festival at Norfolk, Connecticut, which had, in June 1922, put on the Pastoral Symphony, Catalogue of Works 1921/13. The VWs had been to Prague for the 1925 meeting of the International Society for Contemporary Music, for which the two British works chosen had been the Pastoral Symphony and Merciless Beauty, Catalogue of Works 1921/11. The bridge was the well-known and picturesque Charles Bridge - but the eternal light?
2. sic. Lawrence Gilman and Richard Aldrich were music critics in New York.
3. A copy of this photograph taken in Prague survives in UVW’s file.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/6, f.198
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
250616