Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Christian Darnton

Letter No.: 
March 8 [1936?]

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

Dear Darnton
(With your permission I will drop the Mr.)

You were most kind to Glasspool and I agree with much of what you say about him – But I don’t know how to teach him to improve his technique on his own lines and he refuses (quite modestly and nicely) to learn the elements of technique on the older lines which I still believe is the way to master the use of one’s tools – whatever use one is eventually going to make of them.
For example I suggested last week to him – following your hint about his being too lavish of ideas that he should practise developing a piece out of a single theme on the lines of the Bach or Chopin Preludes – but using any harmonic scheme or melodic outline he liked. In fact I improvised to him a few bars which he told me were “quite good” and suggested he should continue – But he explained to me that according to his theory it would be impossible to continue a constant melodic figure – so I was beaten there.
What you say about his home life rather worries me. He has never hinted it to me. Hi is very secretive. For instance I have only just discovered that his viola on which his living depends is borrowed and that he uses an old violin bow! Thank you once again for all your kindness  
Yours sincerely

R Vaughan Williams


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add MS 62763, f. 285
General notes: 

Year tbc, appears to follow VWL932.  Headed paper from no later than 1952.

Original database number: