Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning

Letter No.: 
Oct 22 [1940]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

Dear Madam
In reply to your letter I enclose a testimonial for Mr Franz Reizenstein - But I think you should know that a committee of which I am a member is sitting at the request of the home office to recommend for release musicians of undoubted distinction and that among other names we have put forward that of Mr Reizenstein.1
Yours faithfully
R Vaughan Williams

P.S. I must leave it to you to decide whether it is advisable to send in a recommendation from your committee as well


Oct 22nd 1940
I have known Mr Franz REIZENSTEIN for over five years.
He is, in my opinion, though young, a musician already distinguished in his art. He is a brilliant pianist and has appeared at BBC and other concerts. He is also a composer of great talent and has published several compositions of large dimensions.
Mr Reizenstein is moreover one of the few authorities in England on the Hindemith theory of harmony, the basis on which so much modern music is built.
I am fully convinced that Mr Reizenstein is entirely hostile to the Nazi Regime and is thoroughly loyal to this country. I understand that at the beginning of the war he submitted leaflets for distribution by aeroplanes in Germany, some of which were accepted by the British authorities.
Ralph Vaughan Williams

1. Reizenstein had been interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man. VW chaired a committee investigating the cases of interned musicians and making recommendations for their release.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS. S.P.S.L. 540/2, ff. 367-369