Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Hubert Foss (OUP)

Letter No.: 
[Jan. 26, 1938]

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

To:  Mr Foss

Received: Jan. 27, 1938.1

Dear Foss,

The idea of the choral work (not necessarily a ballad) originated with the difficulty of getting suitable works for our 2nd class villages.
If the successful work is to be accepted by the Leith Hill Musical Festival I shall have to be one of the judges.
The idea is a short secular choral work (one soloist?), words not too solemn (libretto to be approved first?).
Choral part not harder that say Hiawatha or Haydn’s ‘Spring’2 - orchestral part well within the powers of an amateur orchestra, score to be reducible to say 4 w.w., 4 brass, tymps. and strings, and also playable by strings and pfte. Length not less than 25 minutes not more than 40 mins.
Prize small (£25??) but work to remain the absolute property of the composer - on the other hand no promises either of performance or publication.
Work to be really good though not necessarily portentous.3

1.  It is to be assumed the letter was posted the previous day.
2.  S. Coleridge Taylor, Scenes from the song of Hiawatha, op.30 and Haydn, The Seasons.
3.  Apparently about a possible competition for a LHMF composition - did it take place? Need to find out more.


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File 1191

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Text taken from a typescript copy in the Oxford University Press file.

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