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Benjamin Northey

Frederick Septimus Kelly – Orchestral Works

Frederick Septimus Kelly was one of Australia's great cultural losses of World War One: a composer the equal of Vaughan Williams, who survived Gallipoli but was cut down in the final days of the Battle of the Somme. His music – crafted entirely in his head, and only committed to paper once perfected – displays touching lyricism and profound invention. Even during the war, he never stopped writing music: on troop ships during long ocean crossings, in training camps, in the trenches of Gallipoli, in a military hospital recovering from war wounds, in a bombed-out cellar barely 300 metres from enemy lines in France. This album presents his complete catalogue of orchestral works, many recorded here for the first time.

Born in Sydney, ‘Sep’ Kelly’s precocious musical talent quickly moved beyond his local piano teachers, and he was sent to boarding school in England at Eton. There, alongside his advanced musical training, he began a career in rowing – a sport in which he would win a gold medal at the 1908 Olympic Games. From Eton to Oxford to conservatorium studies in Frankfurt, he excelled as both pianist and composer, writing his first symphony (which he modestly titled a Suite) in his mid 20s. The work, here renamed German Symphony, displays an astonishing fluency and command of orchestral colour, with hints of Brahms and Mahler and finishing with a magnificently extravagant fugue.

Tantalisingly, we know from Kelly’s diaries that he composed at least two other symphonies, but never wrote them out. Three months before his death, he spoke of his many compositions ‘waiting to be written – but there is no time to get them down on paper.’ We do, however, have two major orchestral works which highlight the depth of the talent which was lost to us. The first of these is a Serenade of transcendental beauty for flute, harp, horn and strings, written at sea, on a journey home to Australia: the first movement on the Indian Ocean, the second off the coast of Western Australia, the third in the Great Australian Bight, the fourth off the coast of Victoria and the fifth off the coast of NSW.

In the Elegy in memoriam Rupert Brooke, Kelly pours out his grief in the wake of the death of the poet Rupert Brooke. The two had become close friends en route to Gallipoli, but Brooke was to die of septicaemia before they reached the Dardanelles. The music, composed in a dug-out with bullets whistling overhead, recalls the haunting beauty and strange tranquillity of Brooke’s funeral, conducted by moonlight on the eve of battle in an olive grove on the Greek island of Skyros, the air perfumed with wild sage and thyme.

TRACKLISTING

CD1

1   Elegy in memoriam Rupert Brooke

German Symphony*

2   I.   Allegro con brio

3   II.  Waltz

4   III.Intermezzo

5   IV.Introduction and Fugue

6   Scherzo*

7   The Somme Lament arr. Christopher Latham*

CD2

1   A Coin for the Ferryman* arr. Latham

Two Organ Preludes arr. Latham

2   Prelude No. 1 on ‘Good King Wenceslas’ (Christmas Prelude)*

3   Prelude No. 2*

Serenade for flute, harp, horn and strings

4   I.   Prelude

5   II.  Idyl

6   III.Minuet

7   IV.Air and Variations

8   V.  Jig

Douglas Mackie flute, Marshall McGuire harp, Geoff Lierse horn

Songs of Love and Loss arr.Latham (tks 9-11, 13) and Kelly (tk 12)*

9   It Is Not Dawn Till You Awake

10  Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day

11  Music, When Soft Voices Die 

12  Aghadoe

13  Crossing the Bar

Andrew Goodwin tenor (tks 9, 11, 13)

Christina Wilson mezzo-soprano (tks 10, 12, 13)

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Benjamin Northey, Johannes Fritzsch(CD1 tk 1) conductors

* World premiere recordings

Release
The Huntington Estate Music Festival is one of the brightest stars in Australia’s musical firmament. For three decades, it has been bringing together top-flight musicians from around the country and around the world to present a breathtaking array of chamber music masterpieces, both iconic favourites and delicious new discoveries. Presented by the Huntington Estate Winery in association with Musica Viva Australia, and held in the winery’s Barrel Room, one of the most remarkable and surprising music venues in the world, the Festival is a delight to audiences and musicians alike.After 30 stellar years of exceptional music-making, however, the 2019 Festival will be the last, with Huntington Estate owners Tim and Nicky Stevens reluctantly deciding that their grapes – and their young family – must come first. To mark this significant occasion, ABC Classic is proud to delve into its broadcast archives to present this selection of some of the Festival’s most memorable performances across a typically diverse and intriguing range of repertoire: from Schubert and Dvořák to Bach’s astonishing eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann and Australian composers Ross Edwards and Ian Munro.It was Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra who began the Festival and established it as a serious contender on the world stage – and the hottest concert tickets in the country! This album includes superb three recordings from those early years: music of Mendelssohn, Brahms and Percy Grainger.In 2006, the ACO passed the baton to Musica Viva and Artistic Director Carl Vine, opening up the Festival’s artist roster to an extraordinary range of musicians, both local and international. From among the literally hundreds of thrilling performances, this album features New York-based Australian pianist Andrea Lam, Russian-Armenian clarinettist Narek Arutyunian, the rich bass-baritone of Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Vienna’s acclaimed Eggner Trio, along with regular Festival guests the Goldner String Quartet and the rising stars of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) Chamber Orchestra.…/2The CD of this compilation is available exclusively at the Festival itself, but for all those who can’t make the trip to Mudgee, ABC Classic is releasing the full album as a digital album, for download and streaming, so that audiences all around the world can share in the celebration. TRACKLISTING  1     MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 ‘Scottish’: II. Vivace non troppo2     BRAHMS arr. ANGERER Chorale Prelude ‘O Gott, du frommer Gott’3     GRAINGER Blithe Bells       Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti director (2002 / 2004)        SCHUBERT4     An die Musik (To Music)5     Erlkönig (The Erl-King)6     Die Forelle (The Trout)7     Die Taubenpost (Pigeon Post) from Schwanengesang       Teddy Tahu Rhodes bass-baritone, Kristian Chong piano (2007)        WF BACH Sinfonia in F major ‘Dissonant’8     I. Vivace9     II. Andante10   III. Vivace11   IV. Menuetto I & II       ANAM Chamber Orchestra, Paul Wright violin / conductor (2010)      12   ROSS EDWARDS String Quartet No. 2 ‘Shekina Fantasy’:       I. Allegro moderato       Goldner String Quartet (2010)        MENDELSSOHN13   Song without Words Op. 67 No. 2 – Allegro leggiero14   Song without Words Op. 85 No. 4 – Andante sostenuto       Andrea Lam piano (2012) 15   WEBER Clarinet Quintet in B-flat major: II. Fantasia       Narek Arutyunian clarinet, Australian String Quartet (2012)        MUNRO Piano Trio No. 2 ‘Book of Lullabies’ – Excerpts16   II. Lullaby in Edo17   III. Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi18   IV. Skye Boat Song       Dimity Hall violin, Julian Smiles cello, Ian Munro piano (2013) 19   DVOŘÁK Piano Trio No. 1: II. Adagio molto e mesto       Eggner Trio (2015)