John Carmody


May 19, 2017
CD and Other Review

Review: FS Kelly: A Race against Time (TSO/Fritzsch)

FS (“Sep”) Kelly, an Australian who was killed just over 100 years ago in the last days of the Somme Campaign, was a great sportsman (the pre-eminent sculler of his time and a Gold Medallist at the 1908 Olympics), an outstanding concert-pianist and – as this splendid anthology declares – an accomplished composer. In fact, the Elegy for string orchestra, written as a tribute to his friend, poet Rupert Brooke, is a true masterpiece: Australian music-lovers should be proud of it. In this, its second commercial recording, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under Johannes Fritzsch plays with such technical finesse and emotional intensity, that the radiant quality of the music should be obvious to every listener. Brooke, like Kelly an officer of the Royal Naval Division, had died on April 23, 1915 soon after that force reached Gallipoli: Kelly survived the entire campaign and, as if to keep the sound of war from his ears, composed constantly, producing two major works in that year.   The other was a striking Violin Sonata for Jelly d’Arányi, the brilliant young Hungarian violinist and great-niece of Joseph Joachim: she premiered it in London in 1919 during a memorial concert for Kelly, but after her…

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