Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Lucy Broadwood

Letter No.: 
2nd October 1902

Little Parkhurst
Abinger Common

Dear Miss Broadwood

Thank you so much for your kind letter.  I am so glad you think my accomp: suitable.  Isn’t it a fine tune?  It comes out of “Böhme”1  where there are about 1000 more.2
By the way while we are on the subject of my little efforts, have you seen “Willow-wood”? and candidly what do you think of it?  Especially as regards whether it will come off (with pf: accomp) in a large hall.3
I believe there is some chance of McInnes singing it at the Broadwood concerts, and I can’t make up my mind whether to nip things in the bud.4   I feel it is very important that I shd not make a fiasco my first venture with Mr Leslie and his colleagues.  You did give me a copy of the ‘Folk-song’ journal - it is a delight to me every day - I am using ‘poor Mary’ and ‘Young serving man’ at a lecture I give in Bournemouth next week.  I have also largely quoted from your preface.  I hope you do not mind.5
Yrs very truly

R. Vaughan Williams

1. Franz M. Böhme, Altdeutsches Liederbuch, Leipzig 1877.
2. See Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.53: ‘[VW’s] arrangement of an old German Volkslied, Entlaubet ist der Walde [Catalogue of Works,  1902/5], had been sung by Campbell McInnes in November 1902’. VW had presumably sent his arrangement for Lucy Broadwood to look at.
3. Willow-Wood, cantata for baritone or mezzo-soprano solo and orchestra or pianoforte accompaniment (Catalogue of Works 1903/3).  Lucy Broadwood could not have seen any published form of the work (the vocal score was not issued until 1909) – possibly VW thought she might have seen a manuscript score.
4. The work was indeed first performed on 12 March 1903  by Campbell McInnes and Evlyn Howard-Jones.
5. In fact Lucy Broadwood agreed to illustrate one of VW’s lectures at Bournemouth – see R.V.W.: a biography, p.63.


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Cobbe 30
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