Of all the composers whose works are featured on this album, Frederick Septimus Kelly is perhaps the least well-known. The life of this Australian-British composer (and outstanding sportsman, whose rowing team won gold for Great Britain in the 1908 Olympics) was tragically ended by the events of the First World War. Kelly died in November 1916 during the last days of the Battle of the Somme, a year after he had witnessed his close friend, the poet Rupert Brooke, die in Gallipoli. The discovery of the piece which Kelly wrote in memory of Brooke prompted the idea to create a musical tribute to the British composers who fought in the Great War. Arthur Bliss, 23 years old in 1914, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who at 42 was old enough to have been excused service, both enlisted, fought and survived. One, a student at the Royal College of Music and the other a respected upper-class artist, they came out of the war completely changed. In his autobiography Bliss admits to having had nightmares for more than a decade after the conflict had ended. Edward Elgar, who at sixty couldn’t fight at the front, joined a volunteer reserve corps of the army. All three surviving composers went on to create works deeply influenced by the tragic events they had witnessed. As for the Beatles, they are another kind of a “British Legends”!
Limelight Magazine (Sydney) – John Carmody: “Five in harmony as FS Kelly joins the Brits.” ⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎1/2
The Strad (London) – Tim Homfray: “expressive fluency and phrasing, nimble playing.”
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Crescendo Magazine (Brussels) – Dominique Lawalrée: “By Jove ! Un programme so british from St George.”
Son 10 – Livret 5 – Répertoire 10 – Interprétation 9
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