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Thursday, April 30, 2015

F. S. Kelly, Elegy for Strings In Memoriam Rupert Brooke

Frederick Septimus Kelly
photo c. 1903
no copyright infringement intended

I found this elegy on the Facebook page of poet A. E. Stallings. Says she, Kelly (the author of the elegy) was part of the burial party for Brooke on the island of Skyros. He began this elegy en route to Gallipoli. He survived Gallipoli, only to die at the Somme.

(video by Colin)

It is part of a Dutton disc featuring music written during the war by Edward Elgar, Ivor Gurney, Hubert Parry, and Lilian Elkington (Colin)

Kelly’s tone poem Elegy for Strings and Harp In Memoriam Rupert Brooke’ is dated 27 June 1915, when Kelly was himself in hospital in Alexandria. Brooke was buried in a grove on the island late in the evening under moonlight. The burial service was read, and then his closest friends and pallbearers, including Kelly and Denis Browne, stayed behind and covered the grave with stones and pieces of marble. It has been suggested that the music evokes the rustling of the single olive tree which provides shade for Brooke’s grave. The harp part was added a month before Kelly’s own death, and the work was performed at Eton College in 1916, at the Wigmore Hall and at a memorial concert to the composer (Behind the Lines - The Music and Composers of the First World War)

(A. E. Stallings)

(Rupert Brooke)

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