Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ernest Farrar

Letter No.: 
[8th July 1911]

13 Cheyne Walk
Chelsea, S.W.

Dear Farrar,1

I am very glad to hear from you again - I will do my best to answer all your questions.
a) “Five Mystical Songs” is published by Stainer & Bell.
b)  I don’t think I could write Church Music, but there’s no telling what one may not do as senile decay sets in - I certainly am coming more & more to the conclusion that concert music is beastly - that what we want is music for an occasion - a ceremony or a cause!  - but I expect I am too old to change my methods now.
About Wood & the promenades (which by the way I except from the above condemnation) I don’t know how to get at him  - except by a yearly bombardment - I’ve done so nearly every year for the last 8 or 9 years & he has twice taken notice of me.  I believe, however, that Speyer has weight, if you know him.2  
Do come and see me when you are in London and bring some of your things.  I hardly know anything of yours except the Rossetti which I liked very much.3

R. Vaughan Williams.

1. Ernest Farrar was a composer and organist, at this time working in South Shields. Like VW he had been a pupil of Stanford and Parratt.
2. Henry Wood's Promenade concerts at the Queens Hall. Sir Edgar Speyer was a philanthropist who supported the Proms financially from 1902 until 1914, when anti-German sentiment forced him to leave for the United States.
3. Farrar's The Blessed Damozel, op.6, for chorus and orchestra.

Location of original letter:

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/4, f.3 (typed transcription from tape)
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Date from postmark

Cobbe 70
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