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.

Filter letters

Letter No. Title Date Date on Letter
VWL2158 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19510101 Jan 1 [1951]
VWL1635 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 194205-- [?May 1942]
VWL1628 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19420114 Jan 14 [1942]
VWL1356 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19400101 New Years Day [1940]
VWL1076 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19330804 August 4 [1933]
VWL1842 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 194306-- [Late May or early June 1943]
VWL562 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 193505-- Friday [May 1935?]
VWL3118 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19491106 November 6 [1949]
VWL2089 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19501004 October 4 [1950?]
VWL1559 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19390414 Friday [14th April 1939]
VWL1783 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 194712-- Friday [December 1947]
VWL239 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19350214 Feb 14 [1934 or 1935]
VWL1769 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 1949---- Sunday [1948-9]
VWL1240 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19340508 [8th May 1934]
VWL2514 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19480104 January 4 [1948]
VWL1992 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19450511 May 11 [1945]
VWL1729 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 1947---- [1947]
VWL1469 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy Finzi 19401103 Sunday [3rd November 1940]
VWL1522 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Joy and Gerald Finzi 19390305 March 5 [1939?]
VWL2577 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Iris Lemare 19260906 6 Sep 1926
VWL944 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Ina Boyle 19360512 Friday [12th May 1936]
VWL942 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Ina Boyle 19360506 Wednesday [6th May 1936]
VWL852 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Ina Boyle 19300408 April 8 [1930]
VWL1233 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Ina Boyle 19340404 April 4 [1934]
VWL910 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst 19310409 April 9 [1931]
VWL127 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst 19010108 Jan 8th. [1901]
VWL1701 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Gerald Finzi 194209-- Tuesday [September 1942]
VWL2977 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Gerald Finzi 19490330 March 30 [1949]
VWL1178 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Gerald Finzi 193105-- Monday [early May 1931]
VWL921 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Gerald Finzi 19310630 Tuesday [30th June 1931]

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