Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Handel Society

Letter No.: 

Northern Lights

Dear Webb1

Thank you very much for your letter.  I shd like above all things to accept the conductorship of the Handel if initial difficulties cd be overcome.  The great (& indeed only) one is that I am obliged to be out of London (5 hours by rail) for the next few months.2
I shall have, however, probably to come up to London once a week during this time - Wd it be possible for me to take the choir on Thursdays & have someone else at present for the orchestra - as I do not see how I can manage twice a week regularly - But I quite understand that you will probably prefer to have someone who can do the whole job from the start & wd also be more on the spot at other times than this out of the way place.
But I am most anxious to have the honour of conducting you and very much hope that some arrangement can be made to tide me over what I hope is only a temporary absence from London.
When do you propose to start?
Yrs sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

1. Philip G.L. Webb was Honorary Secretary of the Handel Society.
2. AVW had taken rooms in Sheringham for the benefit of her brother Hervey’s health and the VWs spent much time there until his death in May 1921. The Handel Society, founded in London in 1882 for the performance of his lesser-known oratorios, was being revived after the War. VW conducted it until he became Musical Director of the Bach Choir in 1921, when he was succeeded by Eugene Goossens - see R.V.W.: a biography, p.139. The society had approached Adrian Boult and Allen Gill  before VW but both had declined.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus.1714/1/5, f.175-176
Cobbe 119
Original database number: