Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to John Ireland

Letter No.: 
10th May [1944]

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

Dear John

I want to thank you for your beautiful work,1 both for my self and the choir who loves and admires it - They were a little frightened at first, but soon realized that here was something whose idiom was theirs and which meant something especially to them.  I think they sang it well - they certainly knew it.
We had, alas, only strings organ & timps.  But Cole2 did wonders on the organ, the strings were largely professional & all very good players - they tackled the difficulties gallantly. We spent 3 hours rehearsing them & finally they mastered it - only in one place the 2nds came unstuck for a few bars.
Yrs always


1. These things shall be, performed at Dorking in 1944.
2. William Cole, who succeeded VW as Festival Conductor in 1954. Owing to the pitch of the organ, wind instruments could not be used and VW re-scored works accordingly. See And Choirs Singing: An account of the Leith Hill Musical Festival 1905-1985 (Leith Hill, 1985), p.24.

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Location of copy:

Cobbe 428
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