Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Flowers, George French

FLOWERS, GEORGE FRENCH (1811–1872), composer and musical theorist, fourth son of the Rev. Field Flowers, was born in 1811 at Boston, Lincolnshire; he studied music under Rink and Von Wartensee in Germany, graduated Mus. Bac. from Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1839, and proceeded doctor of music in 1865. In the meantime he was organist at the Chapel of the British Embassy, Paris, St. Mark's, Myddelton Square, and St. John's, Paddington, successively. Flowers founded the Contrapuntists' Society in 1843, was responsible for some contrapuntal and musical reviews in the ‘Literary Gazette’ about that time, and was author of an analysis of Goss's ‘Harmony’ in the ‘Fine Arts Journal’ (1847, p. 445 et seq.). His ‘Essay on the Construction of Fugue with … new Rules for Harmony’ appeared in London in 1846; the ‘Pictorial Representation of the Science of Harmony,’ a translation of Basler's ‘Reisekarte,’ in 1850; and a poem on ‘Muscular Vocalisation,’ Barrow-on-Humber, in 1861. Flowers introduced and developed Vogler's system of progressive cadences (cf. his papers in Musical World of 1848, pp. 501 and 554). He contributed opinions on musical matters for many years to the ‘Musical Examiner’ and ‘Musical World.’ In 1850 (Mus. World, p. 650) he announced his determination to cultivate and bring forward English vocal talent by means of a British school of vocalisation. His attempt was justified a year or two later by some measure of success, strikingly illustrated by the excellent singing of his young pupils in St. James's Hall, yet no trace remains of the institution which promised so well. The late Mrs. Howard Paul may be cited as having been its most distinguished member. Flowers displayed in the composition of his ‘Organ Fugues,’ ‘Pastoral Chorus,’ and ‘Choral Fugue’ all the erudition expected from so earnest a follower of Bach and Vogler. His elaborate first mass, about 1860, probably marks the date of his reception in the church of Rome. Flowers died of cholera, 14 June 1872.

[Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 535; Brown's Dict. of Musicians, p. 249; Musical World, 1844–52; other periodicals mentioned above; Gorman's Converts to Rome, p. 39; Foster's Alumni Oxon.]

L. M. M.