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The Frederick Septimus Kelly Project (PFCD218)

A fascinating life story told through music
Composer: F.S.Kelly Composer: Sadie Harrison Pianist: Alex Wilson


1. ‘ the unobservant, all babies seem alike...’ (Harrison) [04:36]
2. Study no 1 (Kelly) [03:15]
3. ‘...the touch of a vanish’d hand...’ (Harrison) [03:27]
4. Study no 8 [04:08] (Kelly) [04:08]
5. ‘ absurd little wooden boat...’ (Harrison) [01:16]
6. Monograph no 19 (Kelly) [00:50]
7. ‘Winning Gold’ (Harrison) [02:06]
8. Monograph no 18 (Kelly) [01:34]
9. ‘...Beethoven worshippers gasped...’ (Harrison) [01:39]
10. Study no 12 (Kelly) [04:57]
11. ‘ the light of a clouded half-moon...’ (Harrison) [03:14]
12. Monograph no 9 (Kelly) [01:36]
13. Monograph no 22 (Kelly) [04:40]
14. ‘One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so!’ (Harrison) [02:10]
15. Study no 9 (Kelly) [02:35]
16. ‘To dear Cleg’ (Harrison) [02:43]
17. ‘...a sea of lacerated earth...’ (Harrison) [01:40]
18. Monograph no 15 (Kelly) [01:10]
19. Monograph no 24 (Kelly) [01:55]
20. ‘...a rare and beloved creature...’ (Harrison) [03:43]
Total [53:26]

phot of Frederick Kelly rowing

About this album

The Frederick Septimus Kelly Project is a collaboration between pianist Alex Wilson and composer Sadie Harrison that celebrates the life and work of British-Australian pianist, composer, Olympic rower and war hero F.S.Kelly (1881 - 1916).

‘The greatest amateur rower of his day, a brilliant pianist and a composer of genius’. So says Chris Latham (Director of the ‘Flowers of War’) a composer who left a legacy of youthfully exuberant music that is full of feeling and emotional resonance. He was perhaps Australia’s first great romantic composer.

This solo piano recording tells Kelly’s fascinating life story through his own piano music, interspersed between characterful and profound new works that are inspired by his experiences and interests as told in his extensive diaries.


"The result is a subtly layered, profoundly considered tribute that captures the essence of Kelly’s music... Alex Wilson responds to its multifaceted richness with imagination and flair... captured in excellent recorded sound. Warmly recommended.’ Paul Conway, Musical Opinion, Summer 2024


F.S.Kelly - highlights from the ‘Twelve Studies’ Op. 9 and ‘24 Monographs’ Op. 11
Sadie Harrison - ‘To dear Cleg’: 10 Portraits of Frederick Septimus Kelly *
*first recordings


Alex Wilson - piano
Recorded at Holy Trinity Church, Hereford in March 2023.
Recorded and produced by Steve Plews.

The Frederick Septimus Kelly Project is thankful to the following organisations for their support:
Ambache Charitable Trust
Vaughan Williams Foundation
Hinrichsen Foundation
The Marchus Trust
The Golsoncott Foundation

Frederick Septimus Kelly

Frederick Kelly rowing

Frederick Septimus Kelly (nicknamed Cleg) has been described as ‘Australia’s greatest cultural loss of the First World War...the greatest amateur rower of his day, a brilliant pianist and a composer of genius’ (Christopher Latham). He was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, aged 35, leaving behind a collection of works that are reminiscent of music by Scriabin, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Vaughan Williams. He was perhaps Australia's first great Romantic composer.

Sadie Harrison

Sadie Harrison

Sadie Harrison is an Australian UK-based composer known particularly for the socio-political aspects of music-making with several works challenging stereotypes of marginalised peoples - refugees, Afghan women, the deaf, the homeless - celebrating their creativity and individuality with powerful expressions of musical solidarity. Sadie’s music has been performed and broadcast internationally with works released to critical acclaim on Naxos, NMC, Cadenza, Sargasso, Toccata Classics, BML, Divine Art/ Métier, and Clarinet Classics. Her music is published by UYMP with several works on the ABRSM and Trinity Examination lists.

Alex Wilson

Alex Wilson sitting b a piano

Alex Wilsonn is a versatile pianist with interests ranging from fascinating repertoire by forgotten composers to cutting edge new music. Alex is a former British Contemporary Piano Competition finalist, Park Lane Group Young Artist and performer of new music across Britain and Europe as soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. Alex’s debut solo CD – a recording of works by WW1 composer F.S.Kelly – was released in June 2020. Alex studied for a music degree at York University, and graduated from the Royal College of Music with a MA (distinction) in piano performance in 2011, following studies with Andrew Ball.