Search the letters

The Vaughan Williams Foundation has made over 5000 items freely available: chiefly letters from Ralph Vaughan Williams, but including some responses which shed light on the subject matter, and also a number of letters from Adeline and Ursula Vaughan Williams. These provide further information and often include messages or observations from Ralph, and there are also letters from Adeline and Ursula written on behalf of the couple. The text of letters written by RVW and UVW remain the copyright of the Foundation.

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The letters are in tabular form and can be sorted by column, or filtered by any keyword including name, musical title, year or subject (singly or in combination). Partial matches will also be found, e.g. searching “sky” will also find “Stravinsky”. To search for a phrase use inverted commas, e.g. “New York”.

To search by letter number, include the prefix VWL, e.g. VWL123.

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Letter No. Title Date Date on Letter
VWL5229 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 19190412 April 12 [1919]
VWL5228 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 1903---- Saturday [1903]
VWL5227 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 1903---- Tuesday [1903]
VWL5226 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 1903---- Monday [1903]
VWL3965 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 1903---- [1903]
VWL3963 Extract from a letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 1903---- Saturday, [1903]
VWL3962 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 19330901 Sep 1, [1933]
VWL3961 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 19251111 Nov 11, [1925]
VWL3960 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 192304-- April 9
VWL3959 Letter from Gustav Holst Ralph Vaughan Williams 192205-- Friday [May, 1922]
VWL3958 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 19140329 Sunday [29 March, 1914]
VWL3957 Extract from a letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 1903---- Monday, [1903]
VWL3919 Letter from Gustav Holst to Adeline Vaughan Williams 19310419 Tuesday [19 April, 1931]
VWL3903 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 192605-- Thursday [May or June 1926]
VWL3902 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 19320415 April 15 [1932]
VWL886 Letter from Gustav Holst to Edwin Evans 19301223 Dec 23 [1930]
VWL880 Letter from Gustav Holst to Edwin Evans 19301203 Dec. 3rd, 1930.
VWL135 Letter from Gustav Holst to Ralph Vaughan Williams 190303-- [March 1903]

You have never lost your invention but it has not developed enough.  Your best – your most original and beautiful style or ‘atmosphere’ is an indescribable sort of feeling as if one was listening to very lovely lyrical poetry.

GUSTAV HOLST letter to RVW 1903

He was one of the most 'complete' men I have ever known. He loved life, he loved work and his interest in all music was unquenchable and insatiable.

SIR JOHN BARBIROLLI, conductor

I was thunderstruck by the symphony last night - and hadn't expected to be. Jagged, pulsating and angry, from that very first clanging dissonance - how can it have come from the same source as the Tallis Fantasia?

AUDIENCE MEMBER, Newbury Festival