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The Language of Flowers

At a Court meeting on 5th May 1925 it was proposed that Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen (1852-1935) be offered the Honorary Freedom of the Musicians' Company in recognition of his long and distinguished services to British Music. The ceremony of Cowen's admission was carried out during the next Court meeting in July 1925.

Cowen (born Hymen Frederick Cohen in Kingston, Jamaica) was a child prodigy composer and pianist who moved to England at age 4 and produced many published works (the first of them at aged 6 years old), but will be remembered mostly for lighter orchestral pieces. Click Here for Cowen's Wikipedia entry.

The Company holds an Autograph Manuscript Score of Cowen's 2nd Suite de Ballet of The Language of Flowers (arranged for pianoforte by the Composer). This was written in 1913 but the official publication date of the composition is 1914. It was first performed in orchestral form at a Promenade Concert in the Queen's Hall, London on 19/9/1914.


The Suite comprises six sections:

No. 1 - Cowslips ("Winning Grace")

No. 2 - Cedar ("Strength"); Dance of Wrestlers

No. 3 - Moss ("Maternal Love"); Berceuse

No. 4 - Pyrus Japonica ("Fairies' Fire")

No. 5 - Yellow Tulip ("Hopeless Love"); Serenade

No. 6 - Viscaria ("Will You Dance With Me?"); Waltz


It is unknown exactly how the Company came by this MSS. However, toward the end of his life, Sir Frederic did donate an Autograph Score of his 1896 composition, Four English Dances to the Musicians' Company (this was minuted and corespondence exchanged), so it is quite possible that The Language of Flowers was presented by Cowen at the same time. Click Here to see that other MSS and associated documentation.


Click an image below to enlarge and scroll through the score. Click on 'Go to link' to expand individual pages further.

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