BYRON, George Gordon, Lord, and Isaac NATHAN. Fugitive Pieces and Reminiscences of Lord Byron: Containg and Entire New edition of The Hebrew Melodies, with the Addition of Several Never Before Published; the Whole illustrated with critical, historical, theatrical. Political, and theological Remarks, Notes, Anecdotes, interesting conversations, and Observations, made by that Illustrious Poet: Together with His Lordship's Autograph; also some Original Poetry, Letters and Recollections of Lady Caroline Lamb. London: Printed for Whittaker, Treacher, and Co., 1829.
8vo. Original publisher's boards, rebacked; pp. xxvi, 196, 12 (advertisements), facsimile of a Byron letter in white on black on pages 144 to 146, wood-engraved device on p. 152, pages 161 to 164 with facsimile of a Caroline Lamb letter in white on black; only lightly toned, uncut; a very good complete copy with advertisements at the end and half-title Hebrew Melodies.
Very rare first 'critical' and much enlarged and annotated edition of Byron's and Isaac Nathan's 1815 collaboration, the famous Hebrew Melodies ('She Walks in Beauty'), with much additional material. 'Douglas Kinnaird introduced the composer of Jewish-Polish descent to Lord Byron in 1814, 'which led to a friendship that lasted until the poet's death. In response to Kinnaird's suggestion, Byron wrote the Hebrew Melodies for Nathan to set to music, and subsequently Nathan bought the copyright of the work. He intended to publish the Melodies by subscription, and John Braham, on putting his name down for two copies, suggested that he should aid in their arrangement, and sing them in public. Accordingly the title-page of the first edition, published in 1815, stated that the music was newly arranged, harmonized, and revised by I. Nathan and J. Braham. But Braham's engagements did not allow him to share actively in the undertaking, and in later editions his name was withdrawn. The melodies were adaptations of ancient Jewish chants, and the songs were indeed first sung in London by Braham. Their success meant that they remained in print until 1861 and became the foundation and highlight of Nathan's English career. Other associates included Lady Caroline Lamb, who wrote verses for him to set to music, his pupil Princess Charlotte, and the court circles of George IV, to whom he was a music librarian and possibly secret agent (New Grove). To support himself he not only wrote and taught, but also ran a music warehouse and publishing business, and even made a not entirely successful stage appearance as Bertram in Henry Bishop's Guy Mannering (1816) at Covent Garden. In 1829 Nathan edited and published Fugitive pieces ... This publication brought him a wide reputation, but its success was not sufficient to keep him out of financial difficulties' (ODNB). The edition history of this important piece of 'Christian proto-Zionism' (Malcolm Miller) is rather complex. Isaac Nathan published the Hebrew Melodies ... The Poetry written expressly for the work by the Right Honorable Lord Byron., together with his musical score in April 1815. John Murray, Byron's publisher, who had recently moved to the up-market address in Albermarle Street then published it without mentioning Isaac Nathan with a print run of 6000, a good part of which later being issued as parts of collected poems or with other works by Byron, frequantly omitting half or sectional titles. (See Michael Rosen, Lord Byron and the Hebrew Melodies, BBC Radio 4 March 24, 2016).
Isaac Nathan wrote a History and Theory of Music (1823) and, after his emigration to Australia, where he experimented with transcribing Aboriginal music he composed the first Australian operas in the 1840s. One of his descendants, Harry Nathan is a claimant to the music of Waltzing Matilda.
Wyse II, p. 93.