Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Frances Farrer, Secretary of the Leith Hill Musical Competitions

Letter No.: 
[October 1929]

To the Secretary of the LHMC

I consider the objection to the words of "Swansea Town" frivolous & without true understanding.
The musical committee have always been very careful not to choose words which however harmless to them might appear suggestive or improper to any one. But if the words "ale and brandy" are in themselves objectionable then a sales catalogue must be I presume taboo also.
The dramatisation of the life of a sailor of past times - something quite apart from the life of those that sing about it ought to be entirely unobjectionable, and indeed invigorating to all right minded and clean-minded people. The more they are "ladies and connected with churches" the less ought they to obtain anything but good from singing in a purely lyric and dramatic form about the life of those whom they would be incapable of imitating even if they wished.
I also resent very strongly the suggestion that the musical committee do not read the words of the music which they choose.
Also it is a very bad principle not to take the decision of a duly elected committee as final. But I understand that the choral society from a member of which this objection comes are partly dependant1 on his goodwill for their existence - indeed in his letter he threatens ostracism. Now rather than his society should lose the benefits of the LHMF I am willing either that the part song be changed to " " or that this partsong be an alternative.
But I want it clearly understood that I do this under protest and solely for the sake of avoiding the difficult situation in which your correspondent has chosen to place a new and inexperienced choir.
I shall be obliged if you will send a copy of this letter to your correspondent.
R. Vaughan Williams


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General notes: 

The protest came from Rowland Lubbock (ref. from another letter in file).
Date from context in file.