Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Adrian Boult

Letter No.: 
Sunday [19 August 1934]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

Dear Adrian

Many thanks for your letter.1 I am telling Isobel2 what you say & asking her to write to you.  It is of course she & not I who have control over Gustav’s music.
As regards my symphony I have been writing it for about 3 years now & I believe it is finished.3 I have made a 2 pfte arrangement & will get that tried through to see if I can bear it.  But the situation at present is that some time ago before Sargent4 fell ill he asked me if I had anything new & I told him about this symphony - whether this amounts to a promise & whether he wants it even if it did I don’t know - wd you like to get in touch with him?
The bits I have shown to people they do not like - Gustav heard it all in an early version on 2 pftes - & was puzzled by most of it & disliked the rest.5


1. See VWL1270 about the BBC’s arrangements to commemorate Gustav Holst.
2. Gustav Holst’s widow.
3. In his letter (see above) Boult had said that he had heard of a new symphony and asked about a possible performance. This was the Fourth Symphony, in F Minor, Catalogue of Works 1934/13. The first performance of the symphony was in fact given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Boult on 10th April 1935 at the Queen’s Hall.
4. Malcolm Sargent.
5. Holst had criticised in particular some of the original ideas for the last movement as being somewhat superficial: see VWL1132.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 910, VW composer

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/8, ff.101-102
General notes: 

Date noted on original.

Cobbe 250
Original database number: