Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) was one of the leading British composers of his time. He composed major orchestral works, oratorios, incidental music, and his famous comic operas.
He was the son of a a military bandmaster, and composed his first anthem at the age of eight. He was a solo boy in the choir of the Chapel Royal, and at 14, he was awarded the first Mendelssohn Scholarship by the Royal Academy of Music.
"The Lost Chord" is a song composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1877 at the bedside of his brother Fred during Fred's last illness. The manuscript is dated 13 January 1877; Fred Sullivan died five days later. The lyric was written as a poem by Adelaide Anne Procter called "A Lost Chord", published in 1858 in The English Woman's Journal.
Fred was an actor who appeared mostly in operettas and comic operas, and the two brothers were very devoted to each other.
During Fred's final illness, Arthur visited his brother frequently at his home on King's Road in Fulham, London. The composer had tried to set Procter's poem to music five years previously but had not been satisfied by the effort. As he had been inspired by his grief at the death of their father, he was again inspired to compose by his brother's decline. At Fred's bedside, he sketched out the music to The Lost Chord, and the manuscript is dated 13 January 1877, five days before Fred's death.
In this version I significantly adapted an arrangement by William Spark (1824-1897), an important organist, who had been assistant to S. S. Wesley at Leed's Parish Church, and who became the City Organist of Leeds and designed the organ at the Town Hall.
Spark's arrangement is really an organ accompaniment to the voice. In my adaptation, I attempted to preserve both the vocal line with the independent organ accompaniment. This leads to quite a few "complexities," but I think the result is better than just "chording out" the tune.
Spark's score is attached below as well as photos of interest & people involved.