A Race Against Time Frederick Septimus Kelly ABC Classics One of the most intriguing recent resurrections has been the emergence of a virtually unknown Australian composer, Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881-1916). The seventh child in a wealthy Sydney family, Kelly was a virtuoso pianist, Oxford educated, an Olympic oarsman, Gallipoli survivor but fatally shot at the Somme, aged 35. Since the National Library acquired Kelly’s diaries in 1979 there has been a frisson of interest in his music. Most pieces here are short songs or violin and piano pieces; several are reconstructions that hint at the music that might have been. The best known, perhaps the only known piece, is Elegy, a profoundly moving string memorial to the poet Rupert Brooke. The heart-rending performance here by the Tasmanian Symphony suggests Kelly’s nineminute lament is possibly superior to the famed Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia (1910). Overall, despite the proclamations of the apologists, the other repertoire in this anthology can hardly be regarded as great music. There are glimmers of greatness, surely, but few and far between. The songs owe much too much to Hugo Wolf, the violin music emerges as boiled-over Brahms and the piano music dashes between the German romantics and Scriabin. Had he lived, Kelly would doubtless have returned to review his manuscripts. As they stand, some judicious editing would have been helpful. Tonu Tubli’s demonic drumming and alongside rapid-fire incantations said to ward off lupine attacks. A song about bears ( Momm) featuring ursine-strength male scatting ends with a Led Zep-proof rock riff. In a wild opening salvo ( Talgo), based on a traditional runo song, twangy Jew’s harp combines with whistles and vocals to set the album’s high-octane tone. Even a spellbinding lullaby, Unelaul, switches hits overdrive midway. A power-packed polka ( Nuudispolka) and an express-paced relationships song ( Kabala) echo Celtic punk bands Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. Sade stands in stark contrast: an exquisite dreamscape that floats like an Irish air. Trad.Attack! has performed its edgy, utterly engrossing music in 30 countries in just three years, from Chile to South Korea. Australia is reportedly on its agenda.