Letter from Gerald Finzi to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
October 20th. [1952]

Ashmansworth, Nr. Newbury, Berks.

Dear Uncle Ralph,

There is no room in the world, as you say, for second rate work.  But no work from a first rate mind is ever really second rate.  Would you prune the Bach Ges: of all the inferior works written by J.S.B?1
Surely it is the total projection of an individual creative mind that really counts. Its worth while knowing that Homer could nod. I dont think you ought to spend time on revising the work, and the idea that you are getting past writing first-rate music is not worth discussing. Strictly speaking you never wrote a bad work (once you got started) whilst you had to struggle to write, though [you] wrote immature works. After 1920 or thereabouts, when your technique began to get working, you wrote quite a number of unmemorable works. King Cole, for instance and The Poisoned Kiss, isn't really one of your best works; yet, these were works written amongst your major works.
Yet these are surrounded (in time) with your major works, and you would hardly have asked at the time “shall I stop writing”.
Anyhow, it's a good job you didn't!
S.O.L.2 will take its place with Old King Cole and a few other things, to be looked at by the more curious and enterprising minds of the future who want to know something more about you than the obvious. I should leave it at that and get on with the next work.
Our love

1. Bach Gesellschaft; works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
2. Sons of Light


Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
Finzi Box 10
General notes: 

Typewritten file copy.

Original database number: