Kate-KennedyThis year’s Wymondham Music Festival music lecture by Dr Kate Kennedy is A Music of Grief, Classical Music and The First World War. The lecture is free to attend and starts at 7.30pm on Tuesday 3 June, at Fairland Church Centre. The event is supported by Rotary Club of Wymondham and Fairland United Reformed Church.

Dr Kennedy will be talking about and playing music by Ivor Gurney, FS Kelly, William Denis Browne and George Butterworth. All four fought in World War I, and only Ivor Gurney survived.

Kate Kennedy explained: “I’ll be looking at favourite songs, that are some of the best loved in the repertoire of English song, and some that I have only recently unearthed in archives from around the world. These songs have never been heard, but will be broadcast for the first time on BBC Radio 3 on 24 June, a recording of the recital/drama, The Fateful Voyage, part of the City of London Festival.” ​

Dr Kennedy is a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week, from 16-20 June and will be talking about Ivor Gurney every day, and will be on BBC Radio 3 Essential Classics from 23-27 June talking about all aspects of World War I.  She is a Research Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge lecturing in both the Music and English Faculties, and has published widely on composers and poets of World War I. She is the editor of The Silent Morning: Culture, Memory and the Armistice 1918, and her biography of Ivor Gurney is forthcoming.

George Butterworth (1885-1916), was a composer, critic and collector of folk songs and dance. He joined up as a Lieutenant in August 1914 and was killed on the Somme on 5 August 1916.

William Denis Browne  (1888-1915) was a composer, pianist, organist and music critic. A close friend of Rupert Brooke, he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Division with Brooke and died at Gallipoli on 4 June 1915.

Ivor Gurney (1890-1937) was a poet and composer. He volunteered in 1914 as a private, although was initially rejected because of poor eyesight; he finally succeeded in joining the 2nd and 5th Gloucestershire Regiment in 1915. He was gassed in September 1917 and returned home. He wrote many poems and at least 300 songs and other instrumental music. Ivor Gurney had very fragile mental health, but volunteered, as he believed the war could help improve his health. He died on 26 December 1937 at the City of London mental hospital.

FS Kelly (1881-1916) was born in Sydney, Australia and went to Oxford University as a music scholar. He was also an oarsman and rowed in the 1908 Olympics. Kelly was both a composer and pianist. In September 1914, he joined the Royal Naval Division, and went to Gallipoli in 1915.  Kelly was a friend of Rupert Brooke and wrote the Elegy for harp and strings, in memory of Brooke. He fought in France in 1916 and was killed on 13 November on the Somme.

Wymondham Music Festival is centred on Festival Fortnight, June 21 to July 6, but with events from May onwards. More than 30 events, many of them free, will be staged in venues across the town during Festival Fortnight. Tickets are on sale at Puff’s Toyshop, Market Place, Wymondham and at www.wymfestival.org.uk. Save £1 on tickets booked by June 14.

For event enquiries, contact the Festival office, t. 01953 333500, e. office@wymfestival.org.uk.

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