Every spring the French farmers of the Somme turn their soil. The thick, dark clay morass, speckled with chalk and flint, reveals a different crop each year from normal beets and potatoes. 

FS Kelly Frederick Septimus Kelly 

The ploughs throw up shiny brass shells, some intact, still quite alive. They are rolled to the edge of the field where the bomb disposal crews collect them. It is all totally shocking in its casualness.

In the lead-up to the Great War centenary, the music of Sydney-born composer Frederick Septimus Kelly – ‘Sep’ to his friends – also started returning to the world, finally surfacing from the shelves where his scores had been buried. A very different discovery was revealed. Who would have thought Australia could have had an heir to Schumann, Brahms, Chopin and Scriabin, someone even matching Ralph Vaughan Williams? Who would have thought a great virtuoso pianist could also be a sporting hero, winning...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now