Found Sounds: UNCG Musicology Journal

Eliza Flower: Composer and Radical

Frances Kelly Norris


This paper examines the life and work of the early nineteenth century English composer and social radical, Eliza Flower. Flower is best known for composing the original setting of the hymn, Nearer My God to Thee. Other compositions include Musical Illustrations of the Waverley Novels, Songs of the Months, a hymn setting of Now Pray We for Our Country, and Songs of the Seasons.

In contemporary context, much of Flower’s work is obscure and unperformed. This paper considers several reasons why this is the case. Eliza Flower was not formally trained in music, most of her connections were with radical writers and political figures, and she struggled with publication of her work due to her involvement in an illicit relationship. In addition to focusing on Flower's unconventional lifestyle, this paper analyzes several of Flower’s compositions, and works to place them in their historical context and defend Flower’s place as an early romantic composer.


Composition; Feminism; Eliza Flower


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