from Vaughan Williams, Ralph, 1872-1958 to Shaw, Martin, 1875-1958

Letter No. VWL4322

Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Martin Shaw

Letter No.: VWL4322

13 Cheyne Walk

Nov 19th 1907

Dear Shaw,
I liked the church music you showed me extremely.  The great difficulty about church music at present seems to be this – it is obviously useless to produce mere weak imitations of the old style – and yet it is equally obvious that the highly coloured sensational music which we usually hear in churches, even if it were good in its self, wd be quite unsuitable to a service which is based on immemorial custom and of which the very language is that of the 17th century.
Your music seems to me to me1 to have to contain the qualities which are just the opposite of this.  It is individual, modern, strong and healthy – but it fits admirably with the quiet and old-established dignity of the English church ritual.
yrs v truly
R. Vaughan Williams

1.  sic.