|Frederick Septimus Kelly|
When I was operating on Ghost Variations, one particular of the most rewarding – and moving – discoveries was the music of Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881-1916): Australian composer, pupil of Donald Francis Tovey, Olympic rowing gold medallist of 1908. He was tragically killed in the Battle of the Somme, possessing survived the horrors of Gallipoli. Jelly d’Arányi, our violinist heroine, was in like with him and kept his image on her piano for the rest of her life. There is not significantly proof that he returned her feelings, beyond the enjoyment of generating music collectively – but nonetheless, he wrote her a substantial violin sonata on his way back from Gallipoli, which was unearthed and recorded for the initially time by Australian violinist Chris Latham much less than a decade ago. (You can hear Kelly’s most renowned function, the attractive Elegy in Memoriam Rupert Brooke, in The Ghosts of War, the d’Arányi-themed concert I am presenting for the Oxford Philharmonic on 1 June in Oxford Town Hall, which also incorporates Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and, of course, the Schumann Violin Concerto).
The other day I had an e mail from the pianist Alex Wilson, with the heartening news that he has unearthed additional unknown Kelly music, this time for piano solo, and is generating a recording. He’s crowdfunding it. I’ve asked him to inform us additional. And do please help his efforts in bringing this rewarding music to light – you can contribute right here. The campaign is reside only till Thursday 7 March.
JD: Alex, how did you initially come across FS Kelly and his music?
AW: I have generally been fascinated by the music of composers who fall outdoors of the mainstream musical canon – a passion that led me to researching the music of the forgotten composers of Planet War One particular. I found and performed music by Ernest Farrar, Cecil Coles and George Butterworth in a five-year concert series – entitled ‘The Banks of Green Willow’ – and it was this exploration that led me to the piano music of the British/Australian composer Frederick Septimus Kelly (‘Sep’), one particular of the couple of wartime composers who wrote extensively for solo piano. I managed to unearth a couple of published pieces at the British Library that I performed in concerts back in 2014, and the good results of these functions led me to want to discover additional.
How would you describe his music, for an individual who’s never ever heard it ahead of? What appeals to you most about it?
Sep’s music is so attractive to me due to the fact it is as opposed to the other music getting written by his contemporaries in Britain. He studied at the Hochkonservatorium in Frankfurtand as a outcome was influenced by each the late romanticism of mainland Europe and the pastoral, folk influenced style of his British colleagues, developing a special sound globe packed complete of contrasting influences that it is definitely fascinating to attempt and make sense of – shifting from restrained hymn tunes to Chopin-esque romanticism and enigmatic harmonic languages reminiscent of Scriabin.
This music is complete of youthful exuberance, unashamedly unrefined at occasions and covering a complete variety of feelings. His music is enigmatic, really hard to categorise, but is nevertheless quite accessible, and has established to be common each and every time I have performed it.
Why have you decided to record these piano functions? Inform us anything additional about them.
This recording will be the initially time the ’24 Monographs’ and ’12 Studies’ have been recorded in their entirety, with quite a few functions in the collections unperformed in 100 years. The approach of finding out music for which I have actually no other point of reference as to how to carry out, study and interpret has been fascinating. There is no regular interpretation to fall back on, I primarily have a blank canvas on which to make my mark.
The Monographs and Research had been written more than a quantity of years, began ahead of the war in 1913 and continued in the course of the war years till his death at the Somme in 1916. Sep was revising and editing the music in the course of active service, preparing it for publishing soon after the war. It is unclear how close he was to finishing this job when he lost his life, even though one particular can assume that the revisions had been largely completed as he had currently performed a quantity of the functions in concerts in the course of the war period. Stylistically the music ranges from romantic simplicity to harmonic ambiguity, and the Monographs cover all the significant and minor keys, which naturally leads to comparisons with the Chopin Preludes.
Several of the pieces have only not too long ago come to light. Please inform us how this occurred, and why? Exactly where have they been and how had been they located?
Considerably of Sep’s original music is held in archives at the National Library of Australia. It remained in its manuscript kind till 2005 when the Marshall-Hall Trust (an organisation devoted to publishing and distributing music by Australian composers) and editors Bruce Steele and Richard Divall made editions of the piano music. On discovering the existence of additional piano music by Sep I was in a position to receive the sheet music from Kelly professional Chris Latham, the director of the Australian organisation ‘The Flowers of War’ – an organisation set up to market the Australian contribution to the Initial Planet War.
His most renowned function till now has been the Elegy in Memoriam Rupert Brooke – extremely attractive piece and one particular that pays tribute to a close buddy. Can you inform us something additional about Kelly and the social circles he moved in?
Sep was a polymath a young man who turned his head to a variety of disciplines with ability and ‘thereupon decided to be a good composer’ soon after reading ‘Psychology and Life’s Ideals’ by Professor Hamer. He performed with the greatest musicians of the day, which includes as component of a properly-renowned trio with cellist Pablo Casals and violinist Jelly D’Aranyi – a lady who loved him deeply, for whom he wrote the Gallipoli violin sonata and who kept his photo on her piano for the rest of her life.
As a naval officer in Planet War One particular Sep joined the renowned ‘Latin Club’ – a group of discovered officers that incorporated poet Rupert Brooke, composer William Denis Browne and Arthur (Ock) Asquith, the son of the Prime Minister. Sep was also a talented rower, winning gold medal at the 1908 London Olympics with the men’s 8s – ahead of promptly providing it up and returning to overall performance and composition after once again!
What do you assume his significance is? (And what could it have been, had he lived longer?)
Kelly died at the age of 35, an age at which he was completely educated as a musician but had only just begun to refine his music, combining the quite a few influences on his composition into a cohesive and person musical voice. Chris Latham suggests that ‘if Ralph Vaughan Williams had also died at the age of 35, their musical output would be an just about precise match in high-quality and quantity, but with Kelly writing additional piano functions, and Vaughan Williams writing additional chamber functions.’ Vaughan Williams grew into one particular of Britain’s most effective and loved composers, and one particular can only envision that Kelly could possibly have created in a equivalent way.
Why are you crowdfunding the recording? What do you assume the pros and cons of crowdfunding are? Is it anything you’d propose that other musicians attempt?
Funding from official sources is tougher than ever to safe, with additional musicians searching for funds from ever dwindling sources. Crowdfunding has established to be the great option to this trouble, and has been a great way to bring my project to the interest of as quite a few folks as probable. Directly as outcome of publicising this campaign I have connected with groups as diverse as Sep’s relatives, his old rowing club, wartime history enthusiasts and person supporters from across the globe.
Crowdfunding needs a LOT of really hard function – I have spent months sending emails, writing articles, developing a variety of recordings and radio appearances, all of which requires valuable time away from the practice space in the months developing up to a recording of some quite tough music! However, I now really feel like I know my topic significantly much better than ahead of, I have learnt immeasurably from my backers and the stories they have told me, and I am pleased to have ‘sold’ a quantity of my CDs ahead of the music has even been recorded!
For these taking into consideration crowdfunding, I’d say GO FOR IT, just do not anticipate to have significantly time for something else!