The Lost Chord

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Enrico Caruso the famous tenor was born in Naples in 1873 and made his debut there in 1895. His last performance was at the Metropolitan Opera House on Christmas Eve 1920 and he died the following year. On Monday, 29 April 1912 Caruso recorded this version of The Lost Chord, that evening he would sing it again, at the Metropolitan Opera House at the benefit concert for the families of the victims of the Titanic, appearing 9th after the interval. Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) had composed the music for this Adelaide Anne Procter (1825-1864) poem in 1877 following the death of his brother.

Listen to this recording of The Lost Chord (MP3 | Real Audio), recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company on Monday 29 April 1912.

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

I know 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,

It flooded the crimson twilight,
Like the close of an Angel's Psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit,
With a touch of infinite calm,

It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love over-coming strife,
It seem'd the harmonious echo
From our dischordant life,

It link'd all perplexed meanings,
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away into silence,
As if it were loth to cease,

I have sought, but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the organ,
And enter'd into mine,

It may be that Death's bright Angel,
Will speak in that chord again,
It may be that only in heaven,
I shall hear that grand Amen,

It may be that Death's bright Angel,
Will speak in that chord again,
It may be that only in heaven,
I shall hear that grand Amen.


Samples, Source Material and Transfers
The Lost Chord, Victor, 29 April 1912 (Matrix # C 11942-1)
Courtesy of the Edison Museum, Menlo Park, New Jersey (© 2001)
Samples reflect the recording methods of the day. This Victor Talking Machine Company recording has been copied using an original 1910 Victor 11. No digital enhancement has been applied.

Metropolitan Opera House (1912) Programme for the Benefit Concert for the Families of the Victims of the Titanic. 29 April 1912
Michael Kennedy and Joyce Bourne eds. (1994) Oxford Dictionary of Music. Oxford University Press.

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Jack Stanley, USA

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  1. joyce in arizona said:

    I learned the song in GLEE CLUB- circa 1940 and always loved it. it seems the very best mix of both emotional and memorial feeling. It's just GRAND! the poet who wrote it must really have had an inspired talent. joyce in arizona

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2005) The Lost Chord ( ref: #4821, published 8 October 2005, generated 20th June 2021 06:15:23 PM); URL :