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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.

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30 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Oct 2018 17:00

Music Played

  • Gustav Holst

    Brook Green Suite

    Performer: London Festival Orchestra. Performer: Ross Pople.
    • ARTE NOVA.
  • Ivor Gurney

    When Smoke Stood Up From Ludlow (Ludlow and Teme)

    Performer: Andrew Kennedy. Performer: Simon Crawford‐Phillips. Performer: Dante Quartet.
    • Signum.
  • Ivor Gurney

    Ludlow Fair (Ludlow and Teme)

    Performer: Andrew Kennedy. Performer: Simon Crawford‐Phillips. Performer: Dante Quartet.
    • Signum.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Symphony No.3 “Pastoral” – 1st movement

    Performer: Hallé. Performer: Sir Mark Elder.
    • HALLE.
  • Arnold Bax

    Symphony No.2 – 1st movement

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Bryden Thomson.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Johanes Maria Staud

    Maniai

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons, conductor.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Frederick Delius

    Double Concerto

    Performer: Yehudi Menuhin. Performer: Paul Tortelier. Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Meredith Davies.
    • EMI.

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