Here's the unedited letter I sent last week, two minutes after I finished the article:
To the Editor:
In his otherwise excellent article on novelist/musician Wesley Stace and his new book ("Musical Whodunit From a Musician Most Literary," http://www.nytimes.
com/2011/02/20/books/20stace. html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Charles% 20Jessold&st=cse, Feb. 20, 2011) Charles McGrath twice uses the term "cowpat" to refer to some English composers of the era from about 1900 to World War II. I object to this: it's a pat term to haul out, lumping together quite different composers while simultaneously dismissing them as worth consideration as individuals. The specific composers he lists, Vaughn Williams, Warlock, and Bantock, had rather different career trajectories and musical styles. Bantock, in particular, was influenced as much by Wagner and other German Romantic music as by English folk songs. The RVW of the symphonies is more musically complex and interesting than his most popular music might indicate.
Mr. McGrath must surely be aware, also, that Warlock and Bantock might be "half-forgotten" in the United States, but that's not the case in Great Britain. I, for one, would love to hear live performances of just about any of Bantock's works, especially his lengthy oratorio, Omar Khhayam, which could easily be staged as an opera.