The Lost Chord

Out of the blue, a memory rose up of Dad noodling on the piano late at night. He often played a hymn “The Last Chord” which I particularly liked because it is a piece written in a minor key.

It must be sixty-five years since I have thought about this and I haven’t the foggiest idea what brought it to mind this afternoon. Anyway, I got to wondering if there really was such a hymn, or if my memory had fogged over with time.

For fun, I looked it up on the internet and discovered “The Lost Chord” was a hymn written by Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) who composed it sitting by the deathbed of his brother Fred. According to Wikipedia, Sir Arthur called it his finest composition. The lyrics are a poem written by Adelaide Ann Proctor, a poet who once upon a time was as widely read as Tennyson. It is heavy with the Victorian sentiment, but it has some nice phrases.

Choral Recording of “Lost Chord” on YouTube

YouTube has a nice choral recording of this hymn if you want to hear it

A Handful of Lyrics

Seated one day at the organ
I was weary and ill at ease
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys.

I knew not what i was playing
Or what I was dreaming then
But I struck one chord of music
Like the sound of a great Amen. . . .

I have sought but seek it vainly
That one lost chord divine
Which came from the soul of the organ
and entered into mine.

Adelaide Ann Porter

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