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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.

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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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.


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