Friday, June 6, 2008

"The Lost Chord"


Perhaps the most successful song of modern times is "The Lost Chord," whose sale in Great Britain has exceeded 250,000 copies. The story of its composition, as told by Mr. Willeby in his "Masters of English Music," illustrates that in art, as in statesmanship, success came to those

Who knew the seasons, when to take
Occasion by the hand.

For nearly three weeks Arthur Seymour Sullivan had watched by the bedside of a dying brother. One night, when the end was not far off and his brother was sleeping, he chanced to come across some verse of Adelaide Procter's which five years before he had tried in vain to set to music.

In the silence of that night watch he read them over again, and almost instantly their musical expression was conceived. A stray sheet of music paper was at hand, and he began to write. The music grew, and he worked on, delighted to be helped while away the hours of watching. As he progressed he felt sure the music was what he had sought for and failed to find on the occasion of his first attempt to set the words. In a short time it was complete and not long after in the publisher's hands.

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