Two letters from Ireland written in the January of 1942 and 1954 are evidence of the tendency to depression that overtook him in the winter months. In 1942 he was living in Little Sampford Rectory, Saffron Waldon, from where he wrote to Father Kenneth Thompson that his life was uneventful, he missed the amenities of the town, saw only the rector and his wife, and was suffering hardening of the arteries. He also mentioned that he felt ‘no urge to do any [composition]’ (letter to Thompson, 4 January 1942). All this despite the beauty of the location and the fine nature of the rectory (as shown). Twelve years later he was bemoaning the problems of Rock Mill: ‘I warn you it is very cold here & you may not be very comfortable… This severe weather is a problem here, & I wish I were in Gunter Grove, traffic or no’ (letter to Thompson, 6 January 1954). January thus tended to provoke a moroseness on the part of the composer, and his May and June letters are very different in tone.

Source: Letters from Ireland to Thompson, British Library, Add. 60535-6.


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