F S Kelly, Intermezzo

For orchestra  Frankfurt/Oxford, 1906
Edited by Richard Divall
Australian Music Series – MDA042
ISBN 978-0-9925674-1-5 / ISMN 979-0-9009656-1-5


Kelly Intermezzo for Orchestra_0007  MDA024 pic2

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 Intermezzo in C minor for Orchestra was completed on April 3 1906, presumably in Frankfurt-am-Main or whilst Kelly was still at Oxford. It is delicately scored on twenty- five pages of manuscript for double woodwind, pairs of horns, trumpets together with timpani and strings. Like his later Serenade of flute and chamber orchestra of 1911 and written for the Australian flautist John Lemmone, it is a beautiful work, reminiscent of Gabriel Faure. To date it has not been recorded.