from Vaughan Williams, Ralph, 1872-1958 to Boyle, Ina Selina, 1889-1967

Letter No. VWL906

Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ina Boyle

Letter No.: VWL906

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

[22 March 1931]

Dear Miss Boyle

I’m so sorry I didn’t write before.  I thought your motets were splendid & v. well sung  – It is a pity that the programme led people to think that the music as well as the words were traditional.1  I hope A. Bernard2 will do something by you.
Many thanks for cheque
Yrs very sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

1. “Oriana Madrigal Society.  Concert at Aeolian Hall.” The Times (March 12, 1931)  “Ina Boyle’s settings of four Gaelic hymns are new, and are thoughtfully written pieces which make skilful use of varieties of vocal colour, such as antiphonal singing by men and women, or the contrast of a contralto solo (Miss Mary Morris) with the men’s voices. They have the disadvantage common to all such arrangements that the harmonic texture sophisticates the original feeling of the songs. That is inevitable and moreover, the very insistence on variety is apt to defeat its own purpose. The four hymns together left an impression of monotony, but each one in itself is a piece of tenderly reflected music, and all were very sympathetically sung.” Ina Boyle’s own detailed and annotated record of her compositions (Musical Compositions Memoranda) ,Trinity College Dublin MSS 4172(ii). Entry entitled: (1923-24) Gaelic Hymns. translated by A. Carmichael in “Carmina Gaedelica”, for unaccompanied chorus. “March 1931 the Oriana Choir sang 4 of them (Gaelic Hymns) under Mr K. Scott. Dr Vaughan Williams was present and afterwards told me he thought they had sounded even better than he had expected.”
2. Anthony Bernard, founder and conductor of the London Chamber Orchestra.