Flower, Eliza (DNB00)

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FLOWER, ELIZA (1803–1846), musical composer, elder daughter of Benjamin Flower [q. v.], was born at Harlow, Essex, 19 April 1803. Her first published compositions, a series of ‘Fourteen Musical Illustrations of the Waverley Novels’ (1831), followed by ‘Songs of the Seasons’ and a number of other pieces, indicated the musician's power of sympathetic expression. Among a few political songs, ‘The Gathering of the Unions,’ a juvenile composition, has been republished as having been performed at the great Birmingham meeting in May 1832, where, in fact, the words had been sung, but to another musical setting. Of a higher character, though equally simple, is the widely known chorus, ‘Now pray we for our country’ (1842). The chief work of Miss Flower's musical life was the composition of ‘Hymns and Anthems, the words chiefly from Holy Scripture and the writings of the poets,’ arranged in five parts, ‘Adoration’ (1841), ‘Aspiration,’ ‘Belief,’ ‘Heaven upon Earth’ (1846), and ‘Life in Death’ (as yet unprinted). Eighteen of these pieces were republished in 1888, and a further selection is contemplated. The object of the composer was to supply a musical service for the congregation of South Place Chapel, Finsbury, which had no liturgy, and was accustomed to simple psalmody led by a precentor. A choir was, however, formed, and many of these compositions, full of melody and musical feeling, and at the same time truly devotional in character, were performed. Among the anthems deserving special mention are several to poetry written by her sister, Mrs. Sarah Flower Adams [q. v.], including ‘Darkness shrouded Calvary,’ and the well-known ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee,’ to the music of which many admirers of this hymn are strangers. Among the more simple hymns are Sir John Bowring's ‘Ancient of Ages’ and Milton's ‘Defend the Poor and Desolate.’ For the South Place Chapel choir a hymn-book was specially compiled by Mr. W. J. Fox, to which music from the best composers was adapted by Miss Flower. This highly gifted and enthusiastic musician died of consumption 12 Dec. 1846, and was buried in her father's grave near Harlow. Her portrait, drawn from memory by Mrs. Bridell Fox, lithographed by Vinter, has been published by Charles Fox.

[Private information; Brown's Dict. of Musicians, p. 249; The Reasoner, December 1846.]

L. M. M.