Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
June 27th 1956.

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.

Dear Frank,

I should like to see Mr Neve’s version and comments very much. But I am not quite happy about converting it into a school operetta, especially if that means cutting out all the more emotional parts, or, at all events, reducing them to a minimum.  I want it to be available for all amateurs, and feel sure young ladies at Peter Jones would revel in the love scenes!  Could we make a full version with optional cuts?  But it seems that the first thing to do is to get the libretto into our power by buying it from Joan Sharp, to whom I understand it belongs.   If we have not at present got any further I would suggest that I should buy it from Joan, and then you should take it over from me as if it were one of my compositions, and pay me a royalty on it.1

P.S. Would you like to come and see me about it? I am stuck in bed with a bad leg - not serious, only tiresome - so it will have to be that way round.2

1. Frank had written the day before reporting proposals from William Neve, who had produced The Poisoned Kiss, Catalogue of Works 1936/4, at Cheltenham School, for adapting it as a school operetta: the libretto needed revision, perhaps based on the version prepared for their performance and the music needed simplification in the vocal parts with the accompaniment adapted for two pianos and percussion. Frank was worried about the need to keep the length of the work within reasonable limits. The libretto had been written by Evelyn Sharp, sister of Cecil Sharp. Joan was Cecil's daughter.
2. VW had phlebitis of the leg - see R.V.W.: a biography, p.373.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 1106
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed.

Original database number: