The Cowpat Controversy
English composers of the early 20th Century have been labelled ' the cowpat school'. This is not just unfair. It's downright rude and it belies the depth of their music.
The line-up of early Twentieth Century English composers includes great figures such as Holst, Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax and Frederick Delius. Since the 1950's these composers have been dogged by a casual and unkind slur against their work, namely by referring to it as 'cowpat music'. Tom Service argues that, far from producing shallow and whimsical pastoral scores, the music produced by this English movement is among the most profound and communicative of the last century, rarely far from the influence of the two World Wars.