Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael and Eslyn Kennedy

Letter No.: 
February 15th 1957.

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

My dear Michael and Eslyn,

I had already got a record of Nielsen 5, and had not made much out of it, but hearing it under John1 was quite a different thing and we both admired it very much though the first movement is perhaps rather too much what Tovey used to call a prelude-to-a-prelude-to-a-prelude.  (But what I really liked most of all was the Haydn: absolutely heavenly U.2)  We also heard the Walton, a fine work, finely played.3 John is much pleased because you have chosen a composition by his second trumpet for Cheltenham.4 I don’t think he looks at all well, and Evelyn evidently did not think so either.
As regards Gerald’s new songs5 – the first and the last hit the nail in my head first away, the others I should like to hear again, but this does not mean, as it usually does, that I do not want to hear them again!  If, as I hope, you do come to St J. at Dorking,6 show the enclosed chit to one of the sidesmen and he will lead you to a reserved pew.
Love to you both


1. John Barbirolli.
2. This sentence by UVW.
3. Michael Kennedy thinks this was Walton’s Partita.
4. The First Symphony of Arthur Butterworth.
5. The first performance of Gerald Finzi’s Hardy cycle I said to love had been given at a concert at the Victoria & Albert Museum on 27th January.
6. The performance of Bach’s St. John’s Passion at Dorking on 23rd February.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, f.158
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed. This letter is printed in part in Michael Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.388.

Cobbe 708; Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.388
Original database number: