Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ralph Wedgwood

Letter No.: 
[Early October 1897]



Dear Randolph,

I ought to have answered you long ago - but I felt overwhelmed. I can't attempt to thank you - its beyond that - so I will stick strictly to business.
The candlesticks are just the thing - may I suggest that you get much better and more beautiful value for your money by getting the old Sheffield plated than the modern silver. This sounds very insulting and dictatorial so take it as unread.
With regard to the other I should prize a Wagner full score more than anything, if you really cared to give me one. I should prefer Tristan; if you think that bad for me, then Die Walküre; if that again does not meet your views Siegfried; or if that is too Buoyant, then Meistersinger. I went to make some enquiries and found that they cost from £6 to £8 - that sounds most appalling - but I can only follow your instructions. They cost this if you promise by declaration never to use them for a public performance; if you infringe this they will cost, as the stolid German said “aabaowt two hundert paownds more”. If you don't want to give me music I suggest some Meredith. I have only got Beauchamp & Egoist.1
My dear Randolph, I only adopt this cool and calculating note to avoid excess, on the principle of the teetotaller.
About Brighton on Friday night I & the Maitlands and some others (perhaps) will all be staying in lodgings provided for us where there will be a room for you.


P.S. Buy the “Musician” for this week or the week after.2

1. Wedgwood gave Vaughan Williams the scores, which subsequently passed to Elizabeth Maconchy.
2. A piece by VW entitled ‘The Romantic Movement and its Results’ appeared in The Musician, Vol.1 no.23, 13th October 1897, pp 430-431. The paper ran for 28 issues in 1897 before closing.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/1, ff.97-98
Original database number: