Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ursula Wood

Letter No.: 
[March 1943]

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

My Dear

Here is all about Böhme.
I have found a translation of von Himmel hoch which I will send you the last 2 verses (but one) are obviously the same as “O my dear heart”.
- I still feel rather like getting you to add two verses to that poem.
- The German verse I quote is not very inspiring!1 
I am to see a private show of my Land for the People film2 at 5A Upper St Martin's Lane at 11.30 on Thursday - wd you like to come?

Franz M Böhme
Altdeutsches Liederbuch
Leipzig 1877

No 524 Kinderwiegenlied
Lasst uns das Kindlein wiegen
Das Herz zum Kripplein wiegen

Lasst uns in Geist erfreuen
Das Kindlen benedeien
O Jesulein süss

(Let us rock the little child
Let us bow our hearts to the little crib
Let us rejoice in spirit
to bless the little child
O sweet little Jesus


1. Ursula did write two verses for ‘O my dear heart’ which VW set using the German carol tune ‘Lasst uns das Kindlein wiegen’ as he planned. The manuscript only came to light in 2008 in private possession and was published by Oxford University Press with Ursula's text in 2009.
2. The People's Land, a film dealing with the work of the National Trust. First shown 17 March 1943. Catalogue of Works 1943/3.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/13, ff. 42-43
General notes: 

Written on the reverse of a circular from the Bristol Philharmonic Society dated 10th September 1941. The private screening of the The People's Land did not take place until 17 March 1943 (which wasn't a Thursday) - see Catalogue of Works. It clearly belongs with VWL1840. Note in the hand of UVW confirms 1943 as the year.
A separate sheet of references to German songbooks, headed 'references' is transcribed as part of VWL1549, but may relate to this letter; the context for the list does not survive.

Original database number: