Letter from Ursula Vaughan Williams to Michael Kennedy

Letter No.: 
Easter [1 April 1956]

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

Michael dear,

Ralph likes it very much – I've queried palan, because palanquin didn’t seem to fit pean or psalm I guess?  Also added a note on Turandot – that was only last winter - Nov. I think, & when Roy was on the final stages of copying it all out.1
Re Cheltenham – Wednesday suits us better really, so we’ll go then.  I will also write to Mrs Davies about our room. We went to Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden last night – it was heavenly décor, some good dresses, & a splendid Carabosse, otherwise, like almost all Ballet, I find, rather a devastating bore.  But we’d neither of us seen it before.  I would like a nice rose pink riding habit, & a tricorne hat – but no – it would mean riding.  Probably a jewelled howdah on one of our neighbour elephants would be more fun!2   
Love to you both, & may the rose trees prosper.

1. Michael Kennedy had sent VW a proof of his article on the Eighth Symphony (Catalogue of Works 1955/3). The proof reads: ‘[the ending] has the character of a palan. It is happy music’; the word should have been ‘paean’. Kennedy later says that the last movement ‘has its origins at a performance of “Turandot”’. The note referred to by UVW made clear that the movement was largely scored before VW had heard the opera but that he had added the gongs at the last moment after hearing them at the performance, as recounted in R.V.W.: a biography, p. 371.
2. Regent’s Park Zoo was nearby.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Ms Mus. 159, ff.115-117
General notes: 

Postmarked on 2nd April, Easter Monday. The proof referred to is with the original letter.

Original database number: