The Letters of RVW

About teachers – it’s no good keeping you off atonality – so if you feel that way go in for it – But I want you to go to a pedant & a martinet who will keep your nose to the grindstone – I don’t mean, dear Grace, that you won’t work – you always do that – but who will make you work his way for a bit & not your own – which I never cd do.

Don’t fall in love with that Turk – he probably has 3 wives at home.

To Grace Williams, 1930

Ralph Vaughan Williams’s vibrant correspondence is a treasure trove of his opinions, and advice to other composers.

Transcripts of 5,103 items of correspondence, fully indexed, can be read online in an ongoing collection, supported by the Trust.

Most of Stravinsky bores me. I wish he even shocked me: especially the Rite of Spring. I do not think the scoring is masterly at all, he always makes a nasty sour sound with his orchestra; but I do like Symphony of Psalms, Les Noces, and the Suite for Violin and Pianoforte, of which I once heard a record under very peculiar circumstances, of which I will tell you one day.

To Michael Kennedy, 1957