Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael Kennedy

Letter No.: 
August 20th [1957]

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


My dear Michael,

As regards Old Hundredth – would it be possible to print the tune – or at all events explain its true form?  - with the long final notes at each phrase?  The effect in the Abbey was largely spoiled because all the Dukes & Viscounts, who probably had not copies of the music - & anyway could not have read it, - sang the old all-equal version, steadily, against the whole chorus & orchestra.1 
As regards the London Symphony, & Fritz Busch – so far as I can remember, it was Tovey who asked me to send it to him.2
Tallis: you might point out that the harmonisation of the first statement is Tallis’s own.  I agree with you about the scoring of the Ninth Symphony3 – there are magnificent & unexpected things in it, especially among the trombones; but there are some errors of judgement
My love to you both


1. VW, in the English Hymnal, had favoured the early version of the hymn tune with double value notes at the beginning and end of each phrase over the version with all notes of the same value which had become customary in the nineteenth century. His coronation setting of the hymn, Catalogue of Works 1953/2, absolutely required the early version to be used.
2. VW sent the autograph score of A London Symphony to Fritz Busch but it was never returned. It had to be reconstructed by friends working from the separate orchestral parts. Michael Kennedy was writing a programme note for the birthday concert in Manchester.
3. Of Beethoven.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, f.180
General notes: 

Year taken from postmark. Letter in the hand of UVW signed by VW.

Cobbe 719
Original database number: