Vaughan Williams on sense of musical citizenship

Vaughan Williams wrote a series of articles for the Royal College of Music magazine entitled “Who Wants the English Composer?”. In these, he expresses his advocacy for an exploration of the English musical style:

We English composers are always saying, “Here are Wagner, Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, what fine fellows they are, let us try and do something like this at home”, quite forgetting that the result will not sound at all like “this” when transplanted from its natural soil. It is all very well to catch the prophet’s robe, but the mantle of Elijah is apt, like all second-hand clothing, to prove the worst of misfits.

Cited in: Holmes, Paul (1997) Vaughan Williams. London: Omnibus Press, p.47.