Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael Kennedy

Letter No.: 
April 22 [1955]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.

Dear Michael

Thank you for all your news – I am sorry I could not answer before – but I got a cold after Dorking & am only just recovered.
I must hear Rubbra’s symphony again – I have liked it so much the twice I have heard it.1  Evelyn & John came to dinner last night – He looks better I think2  – which reminds me that I had a jury (A Bliss, Gerald Finzi, Rubbra, Roy Douglas, Scott Goddard & Howes) to sit on my new tune3 & decide whether I had better go on with it – they decided to put it on the “short list” with the proviso that it wanted a lot more revision (with which I entirely agreed) – I showed it to John knowing who took it away knowing that it is unfinished.  I wish I liked “Troilus” more – I admire it coldly – but it never takes me by the scruff and shakes me – I must try again.4  I have not seen “Musical Opinion”.  If you have a spare copy could I see it?5
Next week we go for a 4tnight to Cornwall.
We are also going to Cheltenham – any chance of you there?6
Our love to Eslyn


1.  Rubbra’s Symphony No. 6 (1954).
2.  i.e. John Barbirolli who had been unwell.
3.  Symphony No. 8 (Catalogue of Works 1955/3).
4.  William Walton’s Troilus and Cressida was still a new phenomenon following its first performance the previous December.
5.  Possibly referring to the article by Donald Mitchell, about VW, 'Contemporary Chronicle: Revaluations: II. Vaughan Williams' in Musical Opinion, vol.78 (April 1955), pp.409-411.
6.  For the Cheltenham Festival.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, ff.71-74
General notes: 

Year taken from postmark. This letter printed in part in Michael Kennedy, Working with Vaughan Williams, p.384.

Kennedy, Working with Vaughan Williams, p.384
Original database number: