Letter from Robert Müller-Hartmann to Ralph Vaughan Williams

28th Oct. 1946

68B, Belsize Park Gardens,
London, N.W.3

Dear Vaughan Williams,
I have now read the preface to the B.G.'s1 revised edition of the B minor Mass. It says that the Autograph has in some places been tampered with, but that in spite of what has been scratched out and written over Bach's original writing is still recognisable.
I wonder whether Mr. Steuart Wilson has read this preface, and whether he has seen the real Autograph (which is or was in Berlin) or only the Facsimile of it. But even in the Facsimile one can easily detect some erasures. As I wrote to you before, most of the passages in question show signs of rubbing out. They are the following:
ET IN TERRA, bar 7 & 6 from the end backwards. The last two quavers in bar 7, d-e, have been changed to d-b and marked with a slur. I have ound no figure marked thus [music example] anywhere else in this movement. I feel all the more sure that the consecutive fifths between 2nd Soprano and Tenor in the B.G. score are Bach's "mistake".
LAUDAMUS TE. Both passages in the vocal part. By the way, the appoggiatura in the second passage (in the Autograph) is written [music image] and not [image].
QUI SEDES. The original e-a is still recognisable in the Facsimile.
Quoniam. The passage between the letters D and E.
I suppose the remaining differences between the Autograph and the score of the B.G. in the GLORIA, DOMINE DEUS, QUONIAM and ET IN SPIRITUM are also due to unauthorised alterations and additions.
The appoggiatura in the second bar of the LAUDAMUS which is missing in the Autograph is possibly to be found in the written part of the solo violin. The German editors mention that for the KYRIE and GLORIA they have also used the original parts mostly written by Bach himself.
If I remember rightly you preferred the printed version to the "corrections" from the Autograph in most cases, and so I hope that this matter has now been settled to your satisfaction.
Yours very sincerely,


1. Bach-Gesellschaft.

General notes: 

Typewritten copy, unsigned.
Correspondent identified from his address and the content.

Location of copy:

Format: 
Letter
Letter No.: 
VWL3774