Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Evelyn Sharp

Letter No.: 
VWL658
[About 1st February 1929]

The Brown House
Cliff Drive
Canford Cliffs

Dear Miss Sharp

I was about to write to you when your packet came - I have not looked at it yet as I have been immersed in correcting band parts for my ‘Falstaff’1 opera.
I had just completed the sketch of a modification of Act III which I send to you in case you have not worked it out yet - so use it or modify it or ignore it just as you wish
Yrs sincerely

R Vaughan Williams

                                                                                 P.K. Act III  Sketch

Chorus of mediums
Empress heard off consulting crystal - the crystal will only show Dipsacus - Empress wonders why & sings ballad about her early history.
After a few sympathetic words from mediums Empress dismisses them & soliloquizes wondering why Dipsacus appeared - can it be anything to do with Tormentilla - what was that old saying Dipsacus used to say that no magic has any power against love - is this come true now? 
Summons Gallanthus & questions him.
Summons Tormentilla (either by magic or by natural means, I rather think the latter) and questions her - makes up her mind that she is really in love with the Prince. (At this moment Amaryllus’ voice heard crying out “Tormentilla I am dying for you”)
Tor: says  ‘My kiss has killed your son’
Empress  “Go in to him perhaps your love can cure him”
Empress then summons Dipsacus by a grand incantation
Dipsacus appears in triumph “my revenge is at hand” - “wait a moment” says the empress & listen.
Behind a transparency Tor & Am appear clasped in each others arms & singing
Dipsacus is dumbfoundered- “What does this mean” - “It means you have been beaten by a woman” - you tried poisons but I safeguarded him with antidotes (develop this)
Dips  “No it is love which has been too strong for us both”.
Scene of reconciliation between Dips & Empress followed by Duet.  They call the two lovers & explain that the only thing is now for them to be respectably married & live in a palace - Tor: is at first dissappointed2 that “love in a hut” is not to be - but they come to the conclusion (in a 4tet) that modern conveniences are essential
They now retire to prepare themselves for the double wedding
Enter Ang: & Gall who agree to marry also (Duet)
(or this might come as part of the grand finale)
Enter the 3 mediums hotly pursued by the 3 Hobgoblins (quick chattering sextet)
Interrupted by Empress - very angry  “What is all this indecent behaviour in my palace - the only thing now is for you also to be married as every one else seems to be doing”
Grand wedding procession & chorus with little bits of solo or duet or trio for all the principal characters.
This wd keep a good deal of your present script viz
The following can be kept

p.1.  “Behold our” to p.6. “presence to invoke” (except I should like spoken dialogue on p.4. as far as the ballad “When I was young” and a little dialogue between the ballad and “you can leave us”)
p.8. From “Amaryllus do I behold you” (omitting the bits for the Empress & mediums)
p.9. Duet “How strange it is” (developed)
p.10. “We perceive” to “if we can”.
p.11. Trio (Made into a 4tet) “Love in a hut”
p.12. “I say you know” to end of Duet


1. i.e. Sir John in Love.
2. sic

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 161, ff.79-86
Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
290201