A Sonata written by an Olympic rowing champion and composed during active service in the First World War has received its World Première recording on EM Records.


Born in Sydney, Australia, Frederick Septimus Kelly attended Eton College from the age of twelve, where his talents both as an oarsman and as a musician were first recognised.  Continuing his musical studies at Balliol College, Oxford, and at the Hoch Konservatorium in Frankfurt, he returned to the UK in order to compete in the 1908 Olympic Games, in which he won a Gold Medal.  Becoming immersed in the musical life of London, he met the violinist Jelly d’Aranyi, the great-niece of Joseph Joachim; and by 1912 she and Kelly were performing together regularly as duo partners.

Soon after the outbreak of war in August 1914, Kelly volunteered for the Royal Naval Division, being posted to Gallipoli in 1915.  It was here, in his tent on the front, that he composed his Violin Sonata in G major for d’Aranyi.  Although predominantly lyrical, there is another world seething underneath: one that speaks of change and, sometimes, of destruction.  It may be regarded as Kelly’s farewell to a way of life that he knew the War would bring to an end.  For d’Aranyi, the Sonata also became Kelly’s farewell to her: he was killed on the Somme in 1916.  D’Aranyi later claimed that, on the night Kelly died, she heard the Sonata he had written for her being played as if from a great distance.

The new release from EM Records features the World Première recording of this Sonata, thereby enabling it to be heard worldwide.  It will help to raise awareness of Kelly’s considerable talents as a composer in this, the centenary year of the Sonata’s composition.


Please visit this page for more details of this recording, together with a full track listing.


A film overviewing the life and work of Charles Hubert Hastings Parry and exploring his works for violin and piano has just been released by EM Records. The 16-minute documentary was filmed, with the kind permission of the Hon. Laura Ponsonby and Kate and Ian Russell, in the beautiful and atmospheric surroundings of Shulbrede Priory in West Sussex, a 12th-century building that belonged to Parry’s son-in-law, Arthur Ponsonby, and which Parry himself visited frequently.


The film’s main purpose is to raise awareness of Parry’s chamber music – a genre with which he is not popularly associated – and, in particular, his works for violin and piano, which EM Records plans to record shortly and for which project we are currently fundraising. The film can be viewed using the media player below; and you can subscribe to the disc by visiting this page.


EM Records is delighted to announce the releases of no fewer than three new discs.


EMR CD029 features the Violin Sonatas by Harold Darke and Herbert Sumsion alongside the powerful Sonata for Violin and Organ by Richard Pantcheff. This disc received a launch in the magnificent Chapter House at Gloucester Cathedral, with a superb performances of the Darke and Sumsion Sonatas by Marshall-Luck and Honeybourne, the artists featured on the disc.


Gurney, Scott and Venables feature on EMR CD031 from Richard Jenkinson and Benjamin Frith, with the significant World Première recordings of the substantial Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Gurney and Scott, alongside works for these instruments by Ian Venables. This disc was launched at an extremely popular event at the Elgar Birthplace Museum.


Finally, a variety of composers old and new are included on the double-disc set EMR CD032-33, with the Chamber Ensemble of London, from Avison, Mudge, Smith and Purcell through Ireland, Elgar, Delius, Darke and Walton to Clive Jenkins, John Dankworth and Paul Lewis.


EMR CD030, which includes the World Première recording of Frederick Septimus Kelly’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, will be launched at a special event at The Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames.


As well as being a composer and pianist of note, Kelly was a championship rower and was a member of The Leander Club – it was with the Leander crew that he won a Gold Medal at the 1908 London Olympic Games; and his name is inscribed both on the Olympic Honours Board and on the Roll of Honour at the Club. It is therefore especially fitting that this new recording from EM Records should be launched at this venue, in a setting that Kelly would have known well.


The evening will include an talk, illustrated with excerpts from the disc, about Kelly and his Sonata.


Tickets for this event are priced at £15 and include refreshments. Please order online from the EVENTS TICKETS page or by send a cheque (made payable to ‘EMF Endeavours’) to Em Marshall-Luck, Director, EM Records, The Red House, Lanchards Lane, Shillingstone, Dorset DT11 0QU. If you require tickets to be posted, please include £1.50 postage per order.

A highly rewarding double-disc collection. Bax’s Sonata explodes with pent-up energy... Williams’s rich, expansive sound is well caught.
EMR CD007-8 | Classical Music
deeply committed and discriminating performances... Marshall-Luck’s ability to spin cantabile lines with the subtlest of phrasal inflections pays dividends.
EMR CD006 | The Strad
If in any way you like English music then this disc is a must. Even if you don’t, this disc is a must. In fact, you have little choice: buy it, please.

EMR CD005 | MusicWeb International

Whether on violin or viola, Marshall-Luck plays with ideal purity over the widest range... Matthew Rickard’s piano-playing is also impressive.
EMR CD003 | Gramophone
David Owen Norris’s performances convey exactly the sense of contained delight I’m sure Quilter would have wanted.
EMR CD002 | BBC Music Magazine
an ideal combination of enterprising programming, some impressive musical archaeology, and superb playing.
EMR CD001 | International
Record Review