A Selection of Hebrew Melodies, Ancient and Modern,
with Appropriate Symphonies and Accompaniments, by J. Braham and I. Nathan: The Poetry Written expressly for the Work, by The Right Hon. Lord Byron. No. 1 & 2.
London, I. Nathan, .
Isaac Nathan (c. 1791-1864) was a Jewish-English composer, musicologist, journalist and self-publicist. Son of a synagogues cantor, Nathan was classically trained by Domenico Corri, who was the student of legendary vocal teacher Nicola Porpora. In 1813 he conceived the idea of publishing settings of tunes from synagogue usage and persuaded Lord Byron to provide the words for these. The result was his famous Hebrew Melodies. The work used, for the most part, melodies from the synagogue service, though few if any of these were in fact handed down from the ancient service of the Temple in Jerusalem, as Nathan claimed. To assist sales, Nathan recruited the famous Jewish singer John Braham to place his name on the title page, in return for a share of profits, although Braham in fact took no part in the creation of the Melodies. Both Braham's and Nathan's signatures can be found on this copies title page.
The work proved to be extremely successful, was reprinted numerous times and brought Nathan some fame and notoriety. Nathan was later to claim that he had been appointed as singing teacher to Princess Charlotte of Wales, and music librarian to the Prince Regent, later George IV. There is no evidence for this, although this edition of the Hebrew Melodies was dedicated to the Princess by royal permission.
Includes a Prospectus of Mr. Nathan's Academy for Vocal Music, on his own peculiar system.
First edition, folio, 2 vols bound together in a modern half-calf binding; slight browning to pages. , 1-64, , 65-133,  pp. Signed by I. Nathan on the bottom of the titles of both first and second vols. Insert of the Prospectus: 8vo, 2 ll., with some marginal tears, no loss of text.
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