While reviewing our file archive, I came upon a letter sent to us in 1989 and experienced a sharp reminder of how our services have advanced in filling requests.
At times, I have flashbacks to the pre-internet era and usually shudder. Speedy communication is one of the positives of the medium, it seems to me. However, back in 1989, NLS Music Section received written correspondence for requests along with telephone calls. (And we still do receive snail-mail written correspondence and telephone calls.) The letter I found was from a current patron requesting The Lost Chord by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
The background of this song is touching; Sir Arthur composed it at the bedside of his dying brother, Fred, who passed away five days later. While not intended for commercial purposes, the song was popular in England and America. Caruso performed it at a benefit for victims’ families from the Titanic.
I checked the patron’s record, and he never received The Lost Chord because it was not in the collection at the time of his request. So…I called him up and asked if he was still interested, TWENTY-SIX YEARS later? And you know what? He was! How about that for following up? I regret it took twenty-six years, but I’m still happy we were able to fill the request. And if you are a patron and interested, The Lost Chord is available on BARD at BRM 34862.