Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ann Boult

Letter No.: 
[20 May, or after, 1936]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

Dear Ann

I love to have your letters, what ever they say - & I should think you a very bad friend if you did not tell me what you thought.1
But, of course, your criticism is really one of the music - the whole thing was meant to be light and amusing (& I think as far as the libretto is concerned succeeded)  - but evidently the music does not fit & therefore is bad as stage music - the only thing to do, therefore, is either to write new music for the words or fit the music to an oratorio about Jonah & the Whale!
By the way the story is a folk-tale as old as the hills & has been made use of already by 2 authors - Hawthorne & R. Garnett - whose version we adapted (with its amusing dénouement) - it comes in a very amusing book of short stories called “The Twilight of the Gods” which you should read.  When are you coming to play Tennis?
Love from Ralph

1.  Ann Boult had apparently written critically of the work. In general criticism of the work had centred on the shortcomings of the libretto.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 72624, f.170
General notes: 

Date based on being shortly after one of the first performances of The Poisoned Kiss, CW 1936/4, on 12 (Cambridge) or 18 (London) May 1936.

Original database number: