Frederick Septimus Kelly

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Frederick Septimus Kelly
F S Kelly 1903.jpg
F.S. Kelly in 1903
Born (1881-05-29)29 May 1881
Flag of Australia.svg
Died 13 November 1916(1916-11-13) (aged 35)
Education Sydney Grammar School, Eton college and Balliol College, Oxford,
Occupation rower, musician
Olympic medal record
Men's Rowing
Gold 1908 London Coxed eight

Frederick Septimus Kelly (29 May 1881 – 13 November 1916) was an Australian and British musician and composer and a rower who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics. He was killed in action during the First World War.

Early life[edit]

Kelly, the fourth son of Irish-born woolbroker Thomas Herbert Kelly and his native-born wife Mary Anne, née Dick, was born in 1881 at 47 Phillip Street, Sydney, Australia. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School then sent to England and educated at Eton College, where he stroked the school eight to victory in the Ladies' Challenge Plate at Henley Royal Regatta in 1899.

Kelly was awarded a Lewis Nettleship musical scholarship at Oxford in this year, and went up to Balliol College, Oxford (B.A., 1903; M.A., 1912), became president of the university musical club and a leading spirit at the Sunday evening concerts at Balliol. He was a protégé of Ernest Walker.

Rowing[edit]

Kelly took up sculling while at Oxford and won the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley in 1902, beating Raymond Etherington-Smith in the final.[1]

He rowed in the four seat for Oxford against Cambridge in the 1903 Boat Race. Oxford lost the race by 6 lengths. Kelly went on to win the Diamond sculls at Henley again that summer, beating Jack Beresford in the final. He also won the Wingfield Sculls, the Amateur Championship of the Thames, beating the holder Arthur Cloutte. This was the only occasion on which he entered.[2]

On leaving Oxford in 1903 he starting rowing at Leander Club and was in the Leander crews which won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley in 1903, 1904 and 1905 and the Stewards' Challenge Cup in 1906. In 1905 he again won the Diamond sculls, beating Harry Blackstaffe. His time on this occasion 8 min. 10 sec. stood as a record for over 30 years.

Kelly's last appearance in a racing boat was in 1908, when he competed at the London Olympic Games. He was a member of the Leander crew in the eights, which won the gold medal for Great Britain rowing at the 1908 Summer Olympics.[3]

Contemporary reports of Kelly's oarsmanship were glowing: 'his natural sense of poise and rhythm made his boat a live thing under him'. In his book stating that "Many think [Kelly] the greatest amateur stylist of all time".[4]

Hands and arms[edit]

In 1907 Kelly became worried about problems with his hands and his arms that were impeding his performance, especially as a musician. He sought hypnotherapeutic treatment for this condition from J. Milne Bramwell, the specialist medical hypnotist, in London. He attended Bramwell's rooms for treatment over an extended time.[1]

Life after Oxford[edit]

After leaving Oxford with fourth-class honours in history, Kelly studied the piano under Iwan Knorr at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, and on his return to London acted as an adviser to the Classical Concert Society and used his influence in favour of the recognition of modern composers. In 1911 he visited Sydney and gave some concerts, and in 1912 took part in chamber music concerts in London. He performed with Pablo Casals, and he helped organise a concert in London by Maurice Ravel.

Following the outbreak of war in 1914, Kelly was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve for service with the Royal Naval Division with his friends—the poet Rupert Brooke, the critic and composer William Denis Browne, and others of what became known as the Latin Club.

Kelly was wounded twice at Gallipoli, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and reached the rank of lieutenant-commander. At Gallipoli he wrote his scores in his tent at base camp, including his tribute to Brooke, Elegy for String Orchestra: "In Memoriam Rupert Brooke" (1915), conceived in the wake of Brooke's death. Kelly was among the party who buried him on Skyros.

The following is a description of Kelly's close connection to Brooke, taken from Race Against Time: the Diaries of F.S. Kelly:

On 22 April 1915 Kelly became aware that Rupert Brooke was dangerously ill. The following day Brooke died and was buried on Skyros by his close circle, the officers known as the Latin Club - the critic and composer, W. Denis Browne; Arthur (Ock) Asquith (later Brigadier-General Arthur Asquith); the scholar and son of Lord Ribblesdale, Charles Lister; Patrick H. Shaw-Stewart, scholar and, at the age of 25, a director of Barings Bank; Bernard Freyberg (later General Lord Freyberg VC and Governor-General of New Zealand); and 'Cleg' Kelly. Kelly's measured description of both the death and burial of the poet have been extensively quoted in the Brooke literature. It was W. Denis Browne and Kelly who sorted Brooke's belongings as their ship left Skyros for the Gallipoli peninsula, and it was Kelly, methodical as ever, who copied the contents of the poet's notebook against its loss in transit to his family. After the Hood Battalion left England, the friendship between Kelly and Brooke had deepened. There are frequent references to their being together on group outings on leave, nights spent together at the dinner table, of W. Denis Browne and Kelly entertaining their fellow officers with Brooke to the fore and, towards the end, accounts of Brooke coming alone to Kelly's cabin to read his poems and to discuss literature. Brooke's death was a personal loss. Kelly is said to have begun composing his Elegy dedicated to Brooke as the poet lay dying nearby.[5]

Kelly survived the Gallipoli slaughter, only to die at Beaucourt-sur-l'Ancre, France, when rushing a German machine gun post in the last days of the Battle of the Somme in November 1916. He lies in Martinsart's British Cemetery not far from where he fell at the age of 35.[6]

At the memorial concert held at the Wigmore Hall, London, on 2 May 1919, some of his piano compositions were played by Leonard Borwick, and some of his songs were sung by Muriel Foster; but his Elegy for String Orchestra, written at Gallipoli in memory of Rupert Brooke, a work of profound feeling, stood out from his other compositions, and made a deep impression. His papers are held in the National Library of Australia.

Kelly's "Serenade for Flute" with accompaniment of Harp, Horn, and String Orchestra (opus 7), written in 1911 has received its first recording 100 years after he composed it. It made a deep impression on the Canadian flautist Rebecca Hall, who recorded it for CD label Cameo Classics. José Garcia Gutierrez was the horn soloist, with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by its Musical Director, Michael Laus. The CD (CC9032CD) also features orchestral compositions by Kelly's near contemporary British composers - Robin Milford, Walter Gaze Cooper, Josef Holbrooke, and Maurice Blower - and is available on line from www.cameo-classics.com

Unmarried, he had lived at his home Bisham Grange, near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, with his sister Mary (Maisie). There is a memorial to him in the village of Bisham.[4]

His elder brother William Henry Kelly was a politician who held the seat of Wentworth in the Australian House of Representatives from 1903 to 1919.

Compositions[edit]

  • Two Songs, Op. 1 (1902)
  • Waltz-pageant Op. 2 for piano; arranged for two pianos (1905 rev. 1911)
  • Allegro de concert, Op. 3 for piano (1907)
  • A Cycle of Lyrics, Op. 4 for piano (1908)
  • Theme, Variations and Fugue, Op. 5 for two pianos (1907–11)
  • Six Songs, Op. 6 (1910–13)
  • Serenade for flute with accompaniment of harp, horn and string orchestra, Op. 7 in E minor (1911). (This has been recorded by Rebecca Hall with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Laus for Cameo Classics in 2011). Edited by Richard Divall 2014
  • String Trio (1913–14)
  • Two Preludes for organ (1914)
  • Elegy, In Memoriam Rupert Brooke for harp and strings (1915) Published by Marshall-Hall Trust. Edited by Richard Divall
  • Violin Sonata in G Major "Gallipoli" (1915) Edited by Richard Divall
  • Piano Sonata in F minor- unfinished (1916) Published by Marshall-Hall Trust.Edited by Richard Divall and Bruce Steele 2005
  • 24 Monographs for Piano (1915) Published by Marshall-Hall Trust. Edited by Richard Divall and Bruce Steele 2005
  • 12 Studies for Piano (1915) Published by Marshall-Hall Trust. Edited by Richard Divall and Bruce Steele 2005

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Henley Royal Regatta Results of Final Races 1839-1939
  2. ^ Wingfield Sculls Record of Races
  3. ^ Sports Reference Olympic Sports - Frederick Kelly
  4. ^ a b Hylton Cleaver, A History of Rowing, 1956 p.48
  5. ^ Térèse Radic Race Against Time: the Diaries of F.S. Kelly p.36 Published by the National Library of Australia, 2004.
  6. ^ Kelly, Frederick Septimus, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Retrieved 19 August 2008

References[edit]

External links[edit]