F S Kelly, Con Moto

For english horn and pianoforte  England
Edited by Richard Divall
Australian Music Series – MDA046
ISBN 978-0-9925674-5-3 / ISMN 979-0-9009656-5-3


 Kelly Con Moto for English Horn_0007   MDA022 pic1

Australian F S Kelly’s brief life uniquely encompassed the highest levels in sport (he won gold for Britain as a rower at the 1908 Olympics) and music (as pianist, composer, conductor and patron). It ended with a hero’s death. Kelly was a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Naval Division’s Hood Battalion. He was twice at Gallipoli, where he was wounded, receiving the DSC for his bravery under fire. He was killed during one of the last great battles of the Somme at Beucourt-sur-Ancre, on 13 November 1916 when he was shot in the head while taking a machinegun post.

Kelly was born in Sydney on 29 May 1881, into a wealthy Irish family. Thomas Hussey Kelly, father of F S Kelly, was a wool broker and company director and a mining promoter. From 1893 he studied at Eton where he developed a precocious talent in both rowing and piano. From 1903 to 1908 Kelly was a student at Das Hoch’sche Konservatorium at Frankfurt-am-Main where he studied composition under Iwan Knorr – Percy Grainger’s teacher, and piano with Ernst Engesser. Kelly kept a daily diary where he commented on his musical colleagues and activities, as well as his wide circle of acquaintances.

The oboist Léon Goossens (1897-1988) introduced Kelly’s music to the general public when in 1962 he recorded the final movement, the Jig with a piano accompaniment, from the Serenade Opus 7. This work, was originally composed for solo flute, and dedicated to the Australian flautist John Lemmone. However the short Con Moto for English Horn and Pianoforte is found amongst the sketches held in the National Library of Australia. It is undated and when I am writing, has never been recorded.