Devised by biographer Kate Kennedy, this recital for narrator, tenor and piano tells the story of an extraordinary friendship between two First World War composers and a poet: FS Kelly, William Denis Browne and Rupert Brooke. All three enlisted in the Hood Battalion, and sailed together to take part in the Dardanelles campaign against the Turks in 1915; Brooke died during the voyage, and Kelly and Browne wrote the most famous accounts of his last days, and of his burial on the beautiful Greek Island of Skyros, accounts that played a significant part in the creation of Brooke’s near-mythological status. Kelly and Browne travelled on, but both died in action soon after.
Their friendship generated a wealth of poems and music, much of which has been scattered across archives in Australia and across the UK, and so still remains unknown and unpublished. This programme uncovers their forgotten songs and piano music, and includes many unknown works. The Fateful Voyage weaves together song, poetry, letters and diaries to dramatize their story, to put these (in Kelly and Browne’s case) largely forgotten young men back on the musical map, and to discover the extent of the loss to British culture that the deaths of these prodigiously talented young men represented. Performed by internationally renowned musicians, it was commissioned by the City of London Festival, and premiered on Radio 3 as part of the commemoration of the First World War in 2014, and has toured the UK and Europe.