Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to William McKie

Letter No.: 
4th February, 1953.

The White Gates,

Dear McKie

(may we stop Doctoring & Mistering each other?)
I send herewith a sketch of my proposed arrangement of the “Old Hundredth”.  I do not think the fanfare at the beginning and end will upset the congregation, but if you still think so I will cut them out.
I have noted the tune in crotchets and minims instead of minims and semibreves, because I think this will be easier for the orchestra to understand, but this does not mean that it is to go any quicker, in fact the slower the better.  I have marked it, as you will see
  Crotchet = 66
I should like all the extra fanfare trumpets to play in the introduction and before the last verse.  Could you tell me the size and composition of your orchestra and then when you have approved this (if you do) I will start scoring it.
Now, will you ask the Archbishop two things?
The earlier version of words say “mirth” instead of “fear”, which is a much better version of “Serve the Lord with Gladness”.  Also, I think “folk” is preferable to “flock”.  The original edition had the word “folck” which was misread in later editions as “flock” but obviously meant “folk”.  Also it is a much better version of “We are His People”.
Can you persuade the Archbishop to allow this?1
I enclose a copy herewith

R Vaughan Williams


Dr McKie.

1. VW had composed the anthem O taste and see (Catalogue of Works 1952/3) for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, would preside at the ceremony. In the event the Archbishop allowed 'folk' but not 'mirth'.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/20, f. 206

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
WAM KMC/02/05A/005
General notes: 

First sentence and signature in hand of RVW, remainder typewritten.

Cobbe 603
Original database number: