Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Cedric Thorpe Davie

Letter No.: 
[2 August 1936]

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

Dear Cedric

Welcome home.
Yes, now the rosy dawn of the “student life” gives way to the cold hard light of bread-winning as they say in the books – I believe you could if you would do some work for me occasionally – have you got a meticulous pernickety mind? – Or are you an artist?  If the former you wd be just the person to “vet” my full scores etc to see I haven’t done foolish things – I longed for someone like that this summer when I have had to finish two large full scores against time – my copyist is very good & careful – but he has not the courage e.g. to finish an important horn phrase which I forgot during a turn-over. 
I should like to see G.G.N1 very much – but not till the tyrannys2 of Hereford (Sep 5-12) & Norwich (Sep 23-27) are over past (Oh yes in between those 2 dates are possible).3
As regards performance I fear the Old Vic is hopeless if they refused H the D4 (which they probably will do) – they will almost certainly (I speak as a fool5) refuse an unknown work (unless, indeed, they are tired of old fogies & want young blood) & I think the RCM is more hopeful – Waddington admires Cuthullin very much.6


P.S. Send  the vocal score to me – You know by this time that I can’t read a full score.

1. Gammer Gurton's Needle.
2. sic.
3. An allusion to Psalm 57, v.1 used again in much the same context in VWL2489 to the Finzis. The first performance of VW’s Two Hymn Tune Preludes for small orchestra, Catalogue of Works 1936/7, was being given at Hereford at the Three Choirs Festival; the first performance of Five Tudor Portraits, Catalogue of Works 1935/5, at Norwich. See R.V.W.: a biography, p.211.
4. VW's opera Hugh the Drover.
5. A phrase VW used to qualify apparently boastful statements, taken from 2 Corinthians ch 11 v23.
6. Sydney P. Waddington taught at the Royal College of Music; he admired Thorpe Davie's Dirge for Cuthullin. The opera apparently remains unstaged. 


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Cobbe 272
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