from Vaughan Williams, Ralph, 1872-1958 to Broadwood, Lucy Etheldred, 1858-1929

Letter No. VWL180

Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Lucy Broadwood

Letter No.: VWL180

Little Parkhurst
Abinger Common

2nd October 1902

Dear Miss Broadwood

Thank you so much for your kind letter.  I am so glad you think my accomp: suitable.  Isn’t it a fine tune?  It comes out of “Böhme”1  where there are about 1000 more.2
By the way while we are on the subject of my little efforts, have you seen “Willow-wood”? and candidly what do you think of it?  Especially as regards whether it will come off (with pf: accomp) in a large hall.3
I believe there is some chance of McInnes singing it at the Broadwood concerts, and I can’t make up my mind whether to nip things in the bud.4   I feel it is very important that I shd not make a fiasco my first venture with Mr Leslie and his colleagues.  You did give me a copy of the ‘Folk-song’ journal – it is a delight to me every day – I am using ‘poor Mary’ and ‘Young serving man’ at a lecture I give in Bournemouth next week.  I have also largely quoted from your preface.  I hope you do not mind.5
Yrs very truly

R. Vaughan Williams

1. Franz M. Böhme, Altdeutsches Liederbuch, Leipzig 1877.
2. See Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.53: ‘[VW’s] arrangement of an old German Volkslied, Entlaubet ist der Walde [Catalogue of Works,  1902/5], had been sung by Campbell McInnes in November 1902’. Broadwood and Campbell McInnes were very close and rehearsed
together. As McInnes gave first performances of the song Entlaubet ist der Walde and Willow-wood), it is likely that he showed them to her. In broad terms, the relationship is discussed in Dorothy de Val, In Search of Song, pp. 81-85.
3. Willow-Wood, cantata for baritone or mezzo-soprano solo and orchestra or pianoforte accompaniment (Catalogue of Works 1903/3).  Lucy Broadwood could not have seen any published form of the work (the vocal score was not issued until 1909), so probably saw McInnes’ manuscript score.
4. The work was indeed first performed on 12 March 1903  by Campbell McInnes and Evlyn Howard-Jones.
5. In fact Lucy Broadwood agreed to illustrate one of VW’s lectures at Bournemouth – see R.V.W.: a biography, p.63.