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Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1895-1958 (Hardback)
  • Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1895-1958 (Hardback)
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Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1895-1958 (Hardback)

(editor)
£177.50
Hardback 702 Pages / Published: 07/08/2008
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The book comprises a selection of some 750 letters of the composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, selected from an extant corpus of about 3,300. The letters are arranged chronologically and have been chosen to provide a cumulative pen-picture of the composer in his own words. In general the letters reflect VW's major preoccupations: musical, personal and political. It was not VW's way to discuss his inner creative processes but he does discuss his music, once it had been written: for example there is much to illustrate the process of 'washing the face' of his major pieces before, and after, they had reached the concert platform. There is correspondence with collaborators such as Gilbert Murray, Harold Child and Evelyn Sharp who provided texts; with his publishers (mainly OUP) about printing scores and parts; with conductors such as Adrian Boult and John Barbirolli about performances. He was in regular correspondence with fellow composers such as Gustav Holst, George Butterworth, Gerald Finzi, Herbert Howells, John Ireland, Alan Bush and Rutland Boughton. There were his pupils: Elizabeth Maconchy and Cedric Thorpe Davie amongst others. A series of close personal friendships is well represented: his Cambridge contemporary and cousin Ralph Wedgwood, Edward Dent, and latterly Michael Kennedy. Above all there are insights on his lifelong devotion to his first wife, Adeline, and his growing friendship with Ursula Wood, who was to become his second wife. In general the book paints a self-portrait of Vaughan Williams not only as a great composer but as a large-minded and public-spirited personality who towered over the British musical world for forty years.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199257973
Number of pages: 702
Weight: 1190 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 43 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[a] splendid book * Diana McVeagh, Times Literary Supplement *
essential for anyone interested in the wider cultural history of Britain in the first half of the twentieth century. It makes fascinating reading and OUP has done us all a service... It deserves to sell in hundreds of thousands. * Piers Burton Page, International Record Review *
This handsome book has been the labour of love for Hugh Cobbe over many years... and he is to be warmly congratulated on the achievement... undoubtedly a required reference work to keep within reach. * Rolf Jordan, Finzi Friends Newsletter *
exemplary scholarship... the volume greatly amplifies our understanding of V.W. * Bayan Northcott BBC Music Magazine *
For anyone with specific areas of study, not least any number of compositions, this volume is required reading. * Andrew Green, Classical Music *
the editor has done a superlative job... By uncovering much fresh material, clarifying and correcting the work of previous editors, and generally bringing Vaughan Williams and his works vividly to life, Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams joins the handful of standard reference books that are essential reading to anyone interested in this composer's music. * Julian Onderdonk, Project Muse *
The letters themselves provide a fascinating insight into Vaughan Williams's wide-ranging interests * Ruth Hellen, Brio Volume 46 *
Hugh Cobbe has done a superb job both in his footnotes and in his selection and the result is a fitting half centenary tribute to a truly great man... Anyone interested in Vaughan Williams will need to have these letters. * Simon Heffer, Telegraph *
excellently produced... a joy to handle. Cobbe has also written a splendid introductory essay for each section of these letters. * Lionel Pike, Fontes *
Cobbe has provided scholars with an invaluable resource * Ceri Owen, Tempo *

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