Letter from Alan Bush to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
September 29th, 1955.

Dr R. Vaughan Williams, O.M.,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park, N.W.1.

Dear Dr Vaughan Williams,

I wrote you about a week ago on rather an urgent matter, but I am afraid that I addressed the letter wrongly, and that it has not reached you in consequence.

You will, I am sure, have heard of the COMPOSERS' CONCOURSE, an organisation which has been in existence now for a little over two years, and which holds meetings to discuss technical and general problems of interest to composers.

One of the most successful of our meetings last season was the one which dealt with the study and teaching of musical composition.  It was gratifying to the Committee of the Concourse to find such an amount of support for this particular project, which is of such importance, but which has no sensational appeal.

This season we are planning to hold a series of meetings, at which composers will speak on their experiences as pupils of famous teachers.  We earnestly hope that you will consent to open this series with a talk on Stanford as a teacher.

The proposed date is Thursday, November 17th.  The meeting will be held at 7.30 p.m., in the hall of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, 7, Carlos Place, W.1.  The talk is supposed to last about 40-50 minutes, and we have questions and discussion after a short interval.  The proceedings are presided over by a chairman.  With your consent we would like to invite Sir Arthur Bliss to take the Chair on this occasion.

May I stress the very great importance which would attach to the opening by yourself of such a series.  In an organistion such as the COMPOSERS' CONCOURSE there are a large number of people who support Central European theories of composition.  Indeed it would be true to say that those in favour of the development of a national school in Britain are in a minority.  Your appearance as the representative of such a school would give strength to those in the CONCOURSE who are against the idea of a supra-national or non-national musical style.

Hoping that you will consent to help the Concourse in this way,
I remain,
Yours very sincerely,


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