“Falling Leaves”
Eliza Flower (1803–1846)
for solo voice and piano
performed by
Margaret Cameron – Mezzo
Frances M Lynch – Piano

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Margaret Cameron

Margaret is smiling at us from under a tree, beside her you can see a field with a copse behind an rainbow overhead

I first worked with ELECTRIC VOICE THEATRE in the 1990’s, for a performance of Games by Peter Nelson at the Lemon Tree Theatre in Aberdeen. It was written for 3 female voices and I joined EVT veterans Frances and Jenny in a chalet on a farm, just outside the city. When we drew the curtains in the morning, cows were staring at us from a few feet away. Under their calm gaze, the three of us hit it off instantly, singing together, taking it in turns to cook and laughing constantly. It set the tone for future experiences of working with EVT – fabulous singing, fun and delicious food. These days, my working life is divided between the BBC Singers, EVT and teaching young singers at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. When I can, I escape to the seaside, practice my cold water swimming and am DIY mate to husband, Nick.

Sepia drawing of the head of the composer surrounded by flowers

Eliza Flower (1803 – 1846)

Tinted lithograph of a drawing by Mrs E Bridell Fox, 1898/99 courtesy of Conway Hall Ethical Society

In nature the flower of this month is the Marigold which represents grief in some sources and fierce love, passion and creativity in others!

a close up of orange and yellow marigolds growing through grass

“Falling Leaves”

“Songs of the Months”
published by A J Novello, December 1834

The short editorial introduction explains that each song appeared throughout 1834 in the Monthly Repository – a publication associated with South Place Chapel where Flower’s life and work was based.

We are releasing each song in its allotted month during 2023. Please go to our Flower of the Month page for more information and to hear all of the songs we’ve recorded so far.

“Falling Leaves”
 Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848)

What care we for falling leaves,
Song-birds flying,
Garlands dying,
Or the wind that lowly grieves?
Come, my bird, and sing to me,
Cheerily, so cheerily!
Thou, sweet spirit!
Dost inherit
Life to make the autumn time,
Change to summer’s richest prime.

What care we for mists that rise,
Valleys shrouded,
Skies o’erclouded,
Chilly evening’s fading dies?
Come, clear eyes, and look on me,
Tenderly, so tenderly!
Thou, bright spirit!
Dost inherit
Life to make the autumn time,
Change to summer’s richest prime.

What tho’ friends, like autumn leaves,
Seem to fail us,
Or assail us,
Not e’en that my spirit grieves.
Come, strong heart, my help to be,
Steadily, so steadily!
Thou, pure spirit!
Dost inherit
Life to make this autumn time,
Change to summer’s happiest prime.

A black and white drawing of a girl with soft curls to her shoulders

The words of the song were written by Eliza’s sister

Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848)
Poet, Singer and Actor

It is not a coincidence that this Autumn song appears not to be just a challenge to the season’s attempt to dampen their spirits, but also to friends who have failed them too. They vow to use every ounce of their strength to turn autumn into summer again! Given that it was written in 1834, I can’t help feeling that they are thinking of those who deserted them when Eliza set up home in the same year with the sister’s guardian, Rev William Fox. He left his wife, taking his children with him, in the face of societal disapproval. Not all of their friends stood by them – notably Harriet Martineau (see the August Song of the Month Harriet wrote with Eliza), though they did reconcile eventually.

the electric voice theatre logo - just the words on some spikes of colour

raising the profile of music by women