Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Sir Alexander Kaye-Butterworth

Letter No.: 
Aug 16th [1916]

Dear Sir Kaye Butterworth

I hope you will not mind my writing to you about George - you know how my wife and I loved and admired him - but I feel it would be impertinent of me to write to you more about this.1
But I feel I may write to you about his music - at first one can only think of all the possibilities locked up in him and of the great things one knew he had it in him to express. I think I know of no composer whose music expressed his character more exactly - all the strength and purpose in him - the determination to be and to say exactly what he meant and no other.
One cannot believe that all these possibilities which were in him are wasted - At all events there is all the beautiful music he has already written - that remains with us as something imperishable. But even that still bigger music which was still unfulfilled in him one cannot believe is lost - it must have its influence on the world somehow - from the very fact that it existed locked up in his mind.
Yours sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

1. George Butterworth [George Sainton Kaye-Butterworth] had been killed in action on 4th August. This letter is preserved in a album of papers concerning the death of his son compiled by Sir Alexander Kaye-Butterworth, now in the Bodleian Library.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Eng Misc c 453 f.60
Cobbe 98
Original database number: