Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
25th March, 1948.

The White Gates,

Dear Frank,

Here are my answers to your letter.
The “Partita” takes about twenty minutes.
The reference to Henry Hall only means that after hearing one of his more nostalgic pieces I was moved to write that Intermezzo.
Personally I think the performance was extremely good. They had worked hard at it.1
As regards programme notes, I am sending you a copy of the notes which I have written for the Philharmonic.  I should like this to be used whenever programme notes are wanted.  I suppose the Philharmonic would give leave?  I will send the musical illustrations when I get a proof.2
As regards the Saxophone - it is essential to the work.  I am tired of boiling down my work so that it can be played by two banjos and a harmonium, and surely all clarinetists3 * double the saxophone now.  If they cannot run to a Saxophone I fear they cannot do the Symphony.  You might as well play it without double basses.4
The Tudor Singers were rather previous.  I have not written a new work for them, but they are giving the first concert performance of my Motet “The Souls of the Righteous”, which I wrote for Westminster Abbey.5
Yours sincerely,

R. Vaughan Williams

* except of course Alan Frank6


Alan Frank, Esq.,
Oxford University Press.

1.  Frank had written on 22nd March saying that he heard the first performance of the work ‘with great interest’ though the performance had struck him as being not too assured in places; the reference to Henry Hall [the Intermezzo has the sub-title ‘Homage to Henry Hall’] had eluded him.
2.  In his letter of 22nd March Frank had asked for information about when VW had been working on the sixth symphony, Catalogue of Works 1947/3, and for any other vital points of interest to anyone writing a programme note.
3.  sic.
4.  Frank had asked whether VW would permit the tenor saxophone part t be played on a bass clarinet when no saxophone was available, fearing otherwise that potential performances might be lost.
5.  Frank had told VW that the Tudor Singers had sent him a programme announcing a new work by VW in their concert on 30th April and he would much like to see it if it existed. VW had offered them The souls of the righteous, Catalogue of Works 1947/1, in lieu  a new work - see VWL2571. The Tudor Singers and their conductor Harry Stubbs had close links with VW and gave the first private performance of An Oxford Elegy in November the following year at the White Gates.
6.  Frank was a keen clarinettist. This line added in the hand of VW.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 119E
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 495
Original database number: