LAST MODIFIED Monday 11 June 2018 20:30

Isaac Nathan and family in Australia

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Isaac Nathan and family in Australia", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 22 June 2018


Professor of music, writer on music, composer

Born Canterbury, Kent, England, 1792 (? 1790)
Married (1) Eliza Rosetta WORTHINGTON (d.1824), St. Mary Abbot's, Kensington, London, 1812
Married (2) Henrietta BUCKLEY (d.1890), St. Mary Abbot's, Kensington, London, 1826
Arrived Melbourne, VIC, February 1841 (per York, from England)
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 5 April 1841 (per York)
Died Sydney, NSW, 15 January 1864 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier) (WorldCat identities)

Isaac Nathan, anoymous portrait (detail), England, c.1815; National Library of Australia digitised item 

Isaac Nathan, anonymous photographic portrait, Sydney, c.1860; State Library of New South Wales (copy presented by Vernon Nathan, September 1918) digitised item 


NATHAN, Barnett ("Baron NATHAN")

Born Canterbury, England, 1793
Died ? 1864


NATHAN, Charles

Baritone vocalist, musical amateur, surgeon

Born London, England, 1816
Died Sydney, 20 September 1872 (NLA persistent identifier)

NATHAN, Rosetta (Jessy)

? contralto vocalist, musician

Died Sydney, 1 April 1843, in the 16th year of her age [sic] (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

NATHAN, Jane Selina (Mrs. John FOULIS)


Married John Foulis, St. John's, Parramatta, 25 June 1844
Died Sydney, NSW, 16 June 1871 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

NATHAN, Alfred

Bass vocalist

Died Sydney, 26 September 1900, aged 80 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

NATHAN, Temple

Treble vocalist

Died ? NSW, 1909 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


? Vocalist, musician (according to Catherine Mackerras)

NATHAN, Harry Alfred (son of Alfred above)

See below for Main entry


The Nathan children

As one of Sydney's most prominent medical practitioners, Charles Nathan was a considerably more prominent citizen than his father. A musical amateur, he had (according to Catherine Mackerras) a fine baritone voice, and was a member of the Sydney Philharmonic Society. The younger Nathans played prominent parts in Isaac's public concerts during the family's first couple of years in Sydney. Stephen Marsh also advertised that his first chamber concert, on 2 June 1842, would be given with the assistance of the Misses Nathans, but was forced at explain on the day:

. . . that from some misunderstanding with Mr. Nathan, Mr. Marsh has been induced to dispense with the assistance of the Misses Nathan at his Concerts, and will therefore have to make an alteration in his Programme . . .

Whatever the misunderstanding, however, it did not perhaps develop into the enmity that has sometimes been inferred to have existed between Marsh and Nathan; indeed, it must eventually have been resolved amicably, for at Marsh's lecture entertainment in July 1844:

Little Miss Nathan also volunteered to assist in supplying the omission of Mrs. Bushelle's songs in the programme, and warbled the ballad of "What a lover should be", very sweetly and melodiously.

The most talented daughter, Jessy Rosetta, last child of his first wife Rosetta Worthington (d.? 1824/26), who had sung The Aboriginal mother for the first time, had meanwhile died unexpectedly on 1 April 1843. Eliza Dunlop's commemorative poem Rosetta Nathan's dirge was published in the Herald.

Select documentation (Isaac in England)

Isaac Nathan, letter to Walter Scott, 1815; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 6184 (photocopy of original, National Library of Scotland, MS 866 fol. 41r/v) 

[Review], An Essay on the History and Theory of Music; and on the qualities, capabilities, and management of the Human Voice; by J. Nathan ...", The quarterly musical review (1823), 356-68 

"DEATHS", La belle assemblée; or, Bell's court and fashionable magazine (March 1824), 

In Cecil Street, in the Strand, aged 29, Eliza Nathan, the well-known author of "Langreath," &c. &c., in giving birth to her eighth child.

"NATHAN (ISAAC)", in [John Sainsbury (ed.)], A dictionary of musicians from the earliest ages to the present time . . . together with upwards of a hundred original memoirs of the most eminent living musicians . . . vol. 2 (London: For Sainbury and Co., 1824), 209-12 

[Notice], The London gazette 18733 (8 October 1830), 2120 

THE Commissioners in a Commission of Bankrupt, bearing date the 15th day of March 1830, awarded and issued forth against Isaac Nathan and Barnett Nathan, of the Mount-House Assembly-Rooms, Westminster-Road, in the Parish of Lambeth, and County of Surrey, Music-Sellers, Dealers and Chapmen, intend to meet on the 29th of October instant, at Eleven in the Forenoon, at the Court of Commissioners of Bankrupts, in Basinghall-Street, in the City of London, in order to Audit the Accounts of the Assignees of the estate and effects of the said Bankrupts under the said Commission, pursuant to an Act of Parliament, made and passed in the sixth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Fourth, intituled "An Act to amend the laws relating to Bankrupts."

See also: The bankrupt directory: being a complete register of all the bankrupts, with their residences, trades, and dates when they appeared in the London Gazette from December 1820 to April 1843, alphabetically arranged ... by George Elwick (London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1843), 296 

Nathan Isaac, Kingsdown, Gloucestershire, music seller, April 21, 1821.

Nathan Isaac, Wellington place, Shepherd's Bush, music seller, June 1, 1827.

Nathan Isaac; and Barnett Nathan; Westminster road, music sellers, Mar. 19, 1830.

"ISAAC NATHAN", The Georgian era: memoir of the mst eminent persons, who have flourished in Great Britian, from the accession of George the First to the demise of George the Fourth, in four volumes, volume 4, political and rural economists, painters, sculptors, architects, and engravers, composers, vocal, instrumental and dramatic performers (London: Vizetelly, Branston and Co., 1834), 280-81 

ISAAC NATHAN was born at Canterbury, in the year 1792, and educated for the Hebrew church, under the care of Mr. Lyon, the Hebrew teacher to the University of Cambridge. He had made considerable progress in that language, as also in the German and Chaldean, when his growing fondness for music caused his parents to change their views with respect to his future destination. Having learnt the violin by way of relaxation, he not only became a tolerable player upon that instrument, but made an attempt, in his own way, to become a composer. “All his pocket money,” says his biographer, “was laid out in the purchase of music paper, on which he felt anxious to try his talent at composition. Ignorant of the theory, his effusions of fancy were unintelligible to all but himself; and it was not a little singular to see him playing from a groupe of notes without any guide as to tune, &c. but such as his own ingenuity had furnished him with.” He was now apprenticed to Dominico Corri, and, in eight months afterwards, composed his first song, called Infant Love, which was followed by O, come, Maria, The Illiterate Boy, and The Sorrows of Absence. Mr. Corri's embarrassments frequently caused his pupil to go without a lesson, but the latter's indefatigable study at home fully compensated for this disadvantage. He used to rise at four in the morning, to sit down to an old harpsichord in an attic of his father's house, and sometimes would pass the whole day before it, without rising even for his meals.

Disdaining to exercise his powers on words unworthy the name of poetry, Mr. Nathan selected from Lord Byron's [281] Bride of Abydos, such pieces, as he thought most adapted to music, for his first mature effort in composition. Among them we may mention: This Rose, to calm my Brother's cares; Think not thou art what thou appearest; Ah! were I severed from thy side; and Bound where thou wilt, my Barb. He subsequently set to music several other pieces of the same author, particularly his Hebrew melodies; many of which Mr. Nathan is said to have composed with the noble bard at his elbow. He fully entered into the spirit of the words; and whilst setting to music those lines relating to the raising of Samuel, by the witch of Endor, he so startled a friend present as to make him exclaim, “I really think it better to depart, Nathan; for you look so wild that I should soon imagine you Samuel himself.”

Mr. Nathan's popularity as a composer was not to preserve him from pecuniary embarrassments; in consequence of which, he, for a short time, absented himself from London. On his return, he was urged by some of his creditors to try his success as a singer, and he accordingly made his débût at Covent Garden, as Henry Bertram, in Guy Mannering. As he had himself anticipated, he failed; the circumstances relating to his aparance are thus stated in a private letter, quoted by his biographer. “Of all risings and fallings, in life,” says Nathan, “the falling of the pocket is most annoying, owing to some little accompaniments, in the form of angry creditors, who set a man thinking. Of two evils, according to custom, I chose the least; not considering durance vile, under the best auspices, as a bed of roses, more particularly when upwards of two hundred miles from those whose tender age and necessities required my exertions; and as desperate cases require desperate remedies, I deemed it prudent to purchase my liberty, by convincing those who had claims on my personal property, that I really did not sess a Stentorian power of lungs sufficient to fill Covent Garden Theatre. As a proof that vanity had no hand in the business, I sent Mr. Harris a critique from Canterbury (where I had tried the character proposed for me), not the most flattering to my feeble voice. For the Adonis-like state of my appearance, I cannot, in honest truth, say much; but I query, with a plaster on his breast, and an unhealed blister on his back, whether even the Apollo Belvidere (to whom I beg it to be understood I bear not the slightest resemblance) would have looked so attractive as in a whole skin. Dressed and patched for the occasion by my much esteemed medical friend, Mr. Hare, of Argyle Street, I dared my fate, and while I strutted my hour on the stage, pardon me for most profanely altering the text of Shakspeare - ‘the curs snarled at me as I walked along.' Let me disclaim any allusion to those whose condemnation proceeded from an honest expression of opinion; ignorant as they were of the disadvantages under which I laboured, I could but anticipate their sentence: I allude only to such, who, to serve party or private purposes, came with, a premeditated design to crush me."

As a composer, Mr. Nathan has considerably added to his fame, since the publication of the pieces before-mentioned, by his music to the play of Sweethearts and Wives. The song, Why are you wandering here, fair maid? is excelled in popularity by no other of the present day, and is alone sufficient to establish and perpetuate his reputation. No composer understood better the union of poetry with music; and, in his hands, each is aided, in expression, by the other. In his orchestral arrangements, he is said to be equally happy, and his accompaniments possess a richness of harmony that reach beyond the ear. Mr. Nathan is also eminent as a singing master, and has lately published a very valuable and profound work, in connexion with this branch of his profession, entitled An Essay on the History and Theory of Music, and on the Qualities, Capabilities, and Management of the Human Voice.

The stage: both before and behind the curtain, from "Observations taken on the spot" by Alfred Bunn . . . volume 1 ([London]: Richard Bentley, 1840), (1845) 146-47 

[1845] . . . The fiftieth night of Gustavua was celebrated, on the stage of Covent Garden Theatre, by a supper, to which the many noble supporters of that opera were invited, to meet the united company of the two theatres*; and the fiftieth night of St. George and the Dragon was commemorated by a sumptuous dinner [146 NATHAN THE COMPOSER] given by Mr. Ducrow on the stage of his own theatre, the humorous incidents attendant upon which would form a volume of themselves. I had sooner hy far hear any one of Ducrow's very shortest speeches, than listen to all harangues of at least eleven-twelfths of the enlightened British Parliament; and there is many a member of the senate who has heard both, and will say the same. The incident which here occurred to Nathan, the composer of the Hebrew Melodies (of whom the illustrious author of the words says, in a letter to Mr. Moore, "Sun-burn Nathan! Why do you always twit me with his vile Ebrew Nasalities?") literally convulsed the whole assembly. Nathan is partial to his own singing of his own melody, "Jephtha's Daughter;" a name which Ducrow confounded, or thought proper to do so, with one of a more theatrical sound; and wishing to amuse his friends, exclaimed, "Come, Mr. Nathan, tip us Jaffier's Daughter"? The Israelite obeyed the call, and sat down to an upright pianoforte, on the top of which a favourite and well instructed parrot, belonging to Ducrow, had perched. The moment after he had run down the keys, and warbled the first line,
"Since our country, our God, oh! my sire,"
[147] the bird chattered out, in quite as audible a voice, "D____d stuff, d____d stuff, Polly Ducrow." I almost fancy I can even now hear the shrieks of laughter it occasioned: but Nathan, unabashed, as soon as the company could command a more serious attention, "went at it again," and striking up that beautiful line,
"And the voice of my mourning is o'er,"
the parrot gave him another touch of "Gammon! "Gammon, Polly Ducrow," and there was an end to "The Song of Salem" for that evening, at all events. I have a proper respect I hope for Mr. Nathan's musical abilities, but I am certain I should burst out into a fit of laughter, if I were ever to hear him sing again . . .

Isaac Nathan, letter to an unknown correspondent, Lambeth, 29 June 1840; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 5912 

Prior to Nathan's departure for Scotland [sic], Nathan offers for sale the printing plates for the Hebrew Melodies and of his song Why are you wand'ring here I pray?, together with letter press copies of Hebrew Melodies; MS purchased from Otto Haas, London, 1994

Documentation (Australia)

"LORD BYRON", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (13 May 1830), 4 

Mr. Nathan, the musical composer, has just pub- lished a pleasant volume of "Fugitive Pieces and Reminiscences of Lord Byron," with a new edition of the celebrated "Hebrew Melodies," and some never before published, of which the following are three, with Mr. Nathan's Notes:-




. . . There are several other interesting anecdotical Recollections of Lord Byron, especially of his connexion with Drury Lane Theatre, and above all, a new light is thrown upon his lordship's affair, with Mrs. Mardyn. Appended are likewise some characteristic traits of the late Lady Caroline Lamb, with some pleasing specimens of her ladyship's poetical talent. Altogether, Mr. Nathan's is just the book for the season.

"ANECDOTES OF MADAME MALIBRAN DE BERIOT (From Mr. Nathan's Memoirs)", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (23 February 1837), 4 


To call up all the TROVE newspaper items tagged Isaac Nathan for 1841:

"PORT PHILLIP. THE YORK", Colonial Times (23 February 1841), 2

"MONEY MARKET INTELLIGENCE", Morning Advertiser [London] (22 June 1841), 2

. . . Port Phillip has been making rapid progress too, seemingly. The arrivals of vessels there last year were 313, of 54,938 tons, more, it is said, than was ever known in the history of colonization for young a settlement. Among the emigrants who had reached this part of Australia, we notice the name of Mr. Nathan, the celebrated composer, and adapter to music of Byron's Hebrew Melodies. This gentleman intended to settle permanently at Port Phillip, where trust he will long live to delight the inhabitants with the refining art he professes. Flour at Melbourne, the capital, was worth 35l. to 37l. per ton . . .

"ARRIVALS", Australasian Chronicle (6 April 1841), 3

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (29 April 1841), 3 

NEW MUSIC. Just landed from England, and on 6th May will be published in Sydney, and to be had of the author, at his residence, Ada Cottage, Prince's-street,
NATHAN'S HEBREW MELODIES, complete in four parts, 15s. each the poetry written expressly for the work by the late Lord Byron - newly arranged, harmonized, and revised, interspersed with original anecdote, critical remarks, and conversations of the noble poet, by the composer; including several (MS.) poems from the pen of his lordship never before published.
The following pieces from the work may be had singly:
"The harp the monarch minstrel swept"
"We sate down and wept"
"The Vision of Belshazzar"
"Fame, wisdom, love, and power"
"The destruction of Sennacherib"
"I speak not - I trace not - I breathe not thy name"
"In the valley of waters"
"When coldness wraps this suffering clay"
"A spirit passed before me"
"They say that hope is happiness"
"Were my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be"
"Warriors and chiefs"
"She walks in beauty"
"Herod's lament"
"Thy days are done"
"On Jordan's banks"
"The wild gazelle"
"From the last hill"
"Sun of the sleepless"
"My soul is dark"
"Weep for those"
"Jephtha's daughter"
"I saw thee weep"
"It is the hour"
"If that high world."
Also may be had of the Author, Parts I and 2 of his "MUSURGIA VOCALIS," an essay on the history and theory of music, and on the qualities, capabilities, and management of the human voice
"The nameless grave"
"This rose to calm my brother's cares"
"Malibran's Farewell"
"When we two parted"
"What a lover should be"
"Why are you wand'ring here, I pray"
"Bright be the place of thy soul"
"How sad to live"
"This faint resemblance."
The following pieces have pianoforte and full orchestra accompaniments.
"When I roved a young highlander"
"Beauty's bower"
"Infant love."
The poetry of the following is from the pen of Lady Caroline Lamb.
"Weep for what thou'st lost, love"
"Amidst the flowers rich and gay"
"After many a well fought day"
"Sing not for others"
"Thou wouldst not do as I have done"
"Sir Henry de Vaux"
And all his latest publications.

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (8 May 1841), 3 

NEW MUSIC. THIS day is published, and to be had of the Author, at his residence, Ada Cottage, Prince's-street,
NATHAN'S HEBREW MELODIES, complete in four parts, 15s. each, the poetry written expressly for the work by the late Lord Byron - newly arranged, harmonized, and revised, interspersed with original anecdote, critical remarks, and conversations of the noble poet, by the composer- ; including several (MS.) poems from the pen of his lordship never before published.
The following pieces from the work may be had singly:
"The harp the monarch minstrel swept"
"We sate down and wept"
"The Vision of Belshazzar"
"Fame, wisdom, love, and power" "The destruction of Sennacherib"
"I speak not - I trace not - I breathe not thy name"
"In the valley of waters"
"When coldness wraps this suffering clay"
"A spirit passed before me"
"They say that hope is happiness"
"Were my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be"
"Warriors and chiefs"
"She walks in beauty"
"Herod's lament"
"Thy days are done"
"On Jordan's banks"
"The wild gazelle"
"Front the last hill"
"Sun of the sleepless"
"My soul is dark"
"Weep for those"
"Jephtha's daughter"
"I saw thee weep"
"It is the hour"
"If that high world."
Also may be had of the Author, Parts 1 and 2 of his "MUSURGIA VOCALIS," an essay on the history and theory of music, and on the qualities, capabilities, and management of the human voice
" he nameless grave"
"This rose to calm my brother's cares"
"Malibran's Farewell"
"When we two parted"
"What a lover should be"
"Why are you wand'ring here, I pray"
Ditto, arranged with variations for the pianoforte
"Bright be the place of thy soul"
"How sad to live"
"This faint resemblance"
"Little fly"
The following pieces have pianoforte and full orchestral accomplishments [sic].
"When I roved a young highlander"
"Beauty's bower"
"Infant love"
"The lady bird"
"Long live our monarch"
The poetry of the following is from the pen of Lady Caroline Lamb. "Weep for what thou'st lost, love"
"Amidst the flowers rich and gay"
"After many a well fought day"
"Sing not for others"
"Thou wouldst not do what I have done"
"Sir Henry de Vaux"
The whole of his "Music" in the operas of "The Illustrious Stranger," "Sweethearts and Wives," "The Alcaid," &c., as performed at Drury-lane and the Haymarket Theatres
And all his latest publications.

"OPENING OF THE NEW ORGAN", Australasian Chronicle (18 May 1841), 2

"CONCERT", The Australian (7 August 1841), 2

{Editorial], The Australian (7 September 1841), 2 

ALL-IMPORTANT as are the various subjects which directly or indirectly depend upon the great question of emigration, they are, nevertheless, beset by so many disappointments, they are so perplexed by ignorance and parly-feeling, that it is a relief to the mind to turn occasionally to lighter matters, if it were only for the sake of refreshment, and so to speak, of consolation.

This will, we trust, be a sufficient apology to the public, if we now notice, at some length, a suggestion which appeared in an article of a contemporary (the Chronicle), to the effect that it would be highly useful and pleasing to establish in Sydney, a School, similarly to one recently created in London, for the purpose of grounding the Instructors of youth, and also young people themselves, in musical science. A small sum of money annually set apart for the endowment of a musical academy would, we fuel convinced, be productive of the best results.

The cultivation of music is in itself a blameless amusement, and, considered with regard to its tendency to elevate the mind and refine the manners of the people, is, in no small degree a preventive of crime. And if the unhappy stumbling-block of religious differences is still to retard the establishment of a system of comprehensive national education amongst us, at least one branch of instruction may be countenanced, without the hateful intrusion of party-feeling, namely, the creation of a Normal School of Music.

No doubt wo shall have, on the bare mention of such a thing, the soul of Mr. Jones all in arms against the proposition -
"For little things are great to little men." He, who could concur in voting £100,000 for one year's police expenditure, and yet oppose the grant of £250 to the Mechanic's School of Arts, will surely pause ere he forfeits such an enviable charnctor of consistency. And certainly the opposition of this gentleman would be a very serious obstacle in our path. Due weight, in the eyes of his Excellency, would doubtless be given to the veto of one whose natural turn of mind, whose exquisited perception of the imaginative and the beautiful, above all, whose comprehensive and accomplished education, exactly qualifies him to be a judge in these matters. Should a vote for the creation of a Normal Musical School be placed upon the estimates of next year, we anticipate an alarming issue from the probable opposition of Mr Jones. We concur with our contemporary of the Chronicle in deeming this a fitting opportunity for bringing such a matter under public notice, inasmuch as it so happens that we have amongst us an individual of musical eminence, who is, in every way, peculiarly well qualified to conduct an Institution such as the one we would advocate.

We do not think that the people of Sydney appreciate Mr. Nathan. They do not appear to know the remarkable claims which he has upon their attention. Hence without any wish to exaggerate, and with no other end in view than the desire that true merit should be duly estimated, we shall convey some information to the Australian world, with reference to this gifted person.

Mr. Nathan enjoys the advantage of possessing, in a very extreme degree, both honourable birth, and polished education. The descendant in a direct line of the last King of Poland, the unfortunate Stanislaus, his immediate ancestors paid the usual penalty which is ever attached to scions of royalty in misfortune. His father was compelled, at avery early period of his life, to fly from his native land, and his great uncle forfeited in the cause of loyalty and family attachment those revenues, which, should the Russian despot ever be compelled to disgorge the spoil, would yield, to their true owner upon every recognized principle of descent, a princely independence.

One would have supposed that under these circumstances the education of the gentleman, whose cause we now advocate, would have been neglected. Quite the contrary, however. Adversity, in this instance, as in the instances of many other high-minded men, was the test of merit, and the pressure of difficulty was but the parent of an honourable ambition. In misfortune, much more than in prosperity, the mind recoils upon itself, and ministers to its own advancement the more assiduously in proportion as its sympathies are misunderstood or rejected by the surrounding vulgar. Hence, it has occurred that Mr. Nathan is, mainly we believe, a self-educated, but unquestionably a very highly educated man. There can be no greater proof of this than his extraordinary work entitled "Musurgia Vocalis" - a book which has quite exhausted the theoretical portion of the subject upon which it treats, which exhibits an astonishing range of information, gathered out of more than half of the languages under Heaven, and bringing all possible collatetal topics to bear upon one great focus, namely, the origin, history, and progress of music in every civilized nation of the globe. Nor is the enormous industry which could collect together such an array of facts, and logical deductions from those facts, less remarkable than the general conception of the book itself. It is in every respect a singular and meritorious production.

We shall now turn to the musical capacity, and proportionate success of Mr. Nathan, and the theme is in truth a very inspiriting one. Ere, however, some facts are stated relative to the professional career of this gentleman, we shall be permitted to make a very few remarks.

We have always felt convinced, that no greater calumny was ever uttered against our fellow-countrymen than to declare that they are not a musical nation. It may, indeed, be granted, that in actual execution, in the fineness of touch, and in what may be comparatively termed the mechanical portion of the divine art, they are inferior to foreigners. But we will ever maintain, that in the appreciation of real music, they yield to the people upon earth, past or present. What then is the style of harmony which is most sgreoable to English ears? This, we apprehend, is a question of national temperament. All manifestations of will, whether those manifestations are religious, political, literary, musical, or otherwse, wait upon the national character. They are but outward signs, indicative of the popular will and pleasure. They are but incarnations of the public mind, types of national sentiment, the "form and pressure," but not the "body" of the times.

Do we Britons then feel stirred by even the chef d'eouvres of the later Italian school which is usually termed "fashionable"? Not so. And why? Because, brilliant as is the fancy, and impassioned as are the love cadences of Rossini and his disciples, there is somewhat of the florid and the frivolous which, pleasing as it is to French or Italian ears, is repugnant to the strong feeling, the manly breadth and grandeur of the British character.

"In ipso fonte leporum
Surgit amari aliquid."

But does the national music of Germany appeal more nearly to our hearts? Unquestionably. It does so because it is more adapted to the character of the British nation. The great German composers, Mozart, Weber, and Beethoven for example, appealed to a deeper class of feelings, than the masters of the lighter and more brilliant school of Italy. Religion, tenderness, fear, and veneration breathe throughout their works. The august genius of Beethoven struggles almost in vain to express itself through his grand, massive, and elaborate chords. The phrases of Weber are instinct with veneration.

Where then is the drawback which alone prevents our countrymen from altogether devoting themselves to the love of German harmony? It consists in the mystery of that music. To English ears it is too frequently unintelligible. In truth such is the character of the Germans. Their mind is essentially metaphysical. The spell of the Aristotelian philosophy, long since shaken off by the rest of Europe, lingers even yet amongst the Teutonic races of the Continent. But, be it recollected, that the English character is, though contemplative, essentially practical. Hence the German musical writers not seldom fail to please us by reason of their frequent obsurity. But withal, we love them far more deeply than we do the elegant frivolities of the rival school.

Where then was the English musical composer who first discerned this truth? Who was it who, for the first time since the days of Purcell, so studied English taste and character, as to unite simplicity and precision, with the tender grandeur of the authors whom he long and intimately studied? He is the subject of this article. He was Nathan. And now he is here, and we think no more of such a man than the veriest money-hunter who ever discounted bills at a bank!

Mr. Nathan, in early life, could not, with his many qualifications, fail of making friends in even the highest quarters. He was the musical historian of that accomplished monarch George IV., and instructed in singing the lamented princess Charlotte of Wales. He rapidly attained not an English only, but a Continental reputation. In home the Italians paid him the compliment of saying - "Non c'e compositore in Inghilterra come Nathan." In the same city the following Latin ode was written in his honor.

Barbitos, excidium Gentis Bellique ruina,
Eheu! quam quondam depulit arce Sacra,
Mellifluis, resonans fibris tua carmina, Nathan
Suspendit templo, ut serta decora, Dei,
Te Citharae valum jamjam recinente supersunt;
Nec tua jam tacuit Musa vetusta, Salem!

Nor could an English poet be silent in his praise - witness the following sonnet: -

Inscribed to Mr. Nathan, author of "The Hebrew Melodies."

Oh, Hebrew Muse! replete with sacred fire,
Solemn with years, and bright with glory's rays,
Thou who hast charm'd my long-neglected lyre,
And taught my soul superior hymns of praise
To those renown'd in Greek and Roman days.
I leace thee yet awhile with pangs of grief,
Such as the voice of friendship oft displays
In many a broken sigh and sentence brief,
Wandering and mourning for the wish'd relief.
I leave thee, muse, or only seem to leave,
Since in my bosom thou remainest chief;
Bound with the fibres which my heart inweave;
Nor can by death the union sweet be riven;
Dying, I find thee sweeter still in Heaven.

Bristol, Thomas Curnick.

To this we will add, from our own knowledge, that he was honoured with the ipecial confidence of King William IV., and employed by that monarch in an important affair of great trust, in which he acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of his royal master. Unfortunately for Mr. Nathan that good king died ere he had requited him for his services, and now, in the reign of her present Gracious Majesty, he is not the only existing instance of royal forgetfulness - as indeed the following letter written, and written in vain, to Lord Melbourne may shew.

"To the Right Hom. Lord Viscount Melbourne.
My Lord - You cannot, after my reiterated applications to your lordship, and numerous interviews in Downing-street, be unacquainted with the important services I had the honour to render the Crown and State, under the influence of patriotic zeal, by command of my late revered Sovereign William the Fourth, whose encouraging letter to me offering every consideration, protection and indemnity, has been admitted, and placed in the hands of your lordship. It has been clearly shewn to our lordship that those loyal services have involved me and my large dependent family in ruinous embarrassments. I have used every exertion privately to obtain a just and honourable settlement, which according to the common law of civilized nations is due from man to man, and which the meanest subject has an equal right to claim with a monarch; but with the exception of the trifling amount I received by your lordship's order from the Treasury, an amount barely sufficient to defray the actual expenditure out of pocket, I have only been fed on airy promises and empty expectations. My petition to the Lords of the Treasury, soliciting permission to lay my claim before the House of Commons, was withheld from their lordships, and I believe, privately conveyed to you, in Downing-street. My recent application to the Lord Chamberlain, for permission to present a menorial to her gracious Majesty, has, I fear, shared the like treatment. My letter to your lordship, dated 13th May last, a copy of which, with full particulars, I also forwarded to your lordship's nephew, the Hon. William Cowper, M. P., remains unnoticed. And since every effort I have have made for an equitable adjustment of affairs connected with the royal mandate has been treated with apatrhy; every attempt to lay my claim before the House [of] Commons frustrated; and that strict propriety of conduct which in early life secured me the friendship and acquaintance of almost every branch of your lordship's noble family, appears now no longer to have any claim upon your lordship's attention; and as I am not in the least disposed to play the sychophant and tamely to submit to oppression and to the violation of justice, even from ministers; I take this mode of making known to your lorship that I shall forthwith draw up a memorial to the Queen, embodying the whole of my correspondence with William the Fourth, Sir Herbert Taylor, and others, and leave copies at the different bankers in England for the signatures of a feeling and considerate public. From its consequence no blame can possibly hereafter be atached to me, - My lord, I have tha honour to remain your lordships very obedient humble servant,
ISAAC NATHAN, Author of "Musurgia Vocalis." July 26, 1840.

From this It may be gathered that his pecuniary resources became impaired.

We have little more to add. Thinking that, as far as England is concerned, "Sparta had many a worthier son than he," in other words, that he would succeed better in his profession here than at home, he has come amongst us. Will the Australian public appreciate his merits, or will they treat him with "apathy"?

Whether this question shall be answered in the negative or the affirmative, he will at least have the consolation of reflecting that be has been the friend or princes, and still more - that he has familiarly known such men as Byron and Shelley, Moore and Scott, Douglas Kinnaird and Hobhouse.

We will appeal, in conclusion, to the Australian public. Shall we have a public Normal Musical School? and if so, who is there who would not profit by Nathan's knowledge? Already, from the mere love of the "joyous science," he gives instruction to many Australian pupils gratis.

We will hope that some manifestation of public sympathy with this eminent man will even yet be shown.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (19 October 1841), 3

"NATHAN'S GRAND CONCERT", Australasian Chronicle (28 October 1841), 2

. . . Of the "Aboriginal mother", given on this occasion for the first time, we have already expressed our opinion, and have only to add that it was sung by Miss Rosetta Nathan with great feeling. We shall he glad to hear it again; it will decidedly gain new favour by a better acquaintance. Rossini's "Now with grief" (Non piu mesta), which concluded the first part, was, we can say, without any exception, the best musical performance we have heard in the colony. It was loudly and very justly encored. Bishop's "Bid me discourse" was sung by Miss Jane Nathan with uncommon accuracy and taste. The orchestral parts to this song were also original, and would establish Mr. Nathan's abilities as a skilful harmonist if he had never written anything else. This song was duly encored . . . The exquisite duet "Vederlo sol bramo", by Paer, followed, sung by Misses Jane and Rosetta Nathan, and, whatever prejudice may say against Italian music, must have delighted every musical ear in the house. We wish we could hear such a composition so well sung every evening of our life, and for ever after. Mr. Alfred Nathan's, "[My Grandfather was a most] Wonderful Man" [Benedict] was beyond our expectations; the introduction of Port Phillip and Parramatta was very clever . . . "Where is the Rover" [Lee], was sung and repeated with renewed applause, by Miss Jane Nathan. The performance concluded by our excellent Australian anthem, "Long Live Victoria", which, being given with a very full chorus, was most effective. The solos were sung in succession by Miss Jane Nathan, Miss Pettingell, and Miss Strickland. Altogether, this was a very fine performance, and we cannot withhold our very decided praise from the beautiful juvenile academy with which Mr. Nathan was surrounded. As a contemporary has remarked, it is truly delightful to see Mr. Nathan giving his lessons to this little chorus; and we hope he will be encouraged as he really deserves in his efforts to advance his delightful art among us.

"SYDNET EXTRAVAGANZAS - FELTON - NATHAN". To the Editors", The Sydney Herald (3 November 1841), 2 


To call up all the TROVE newspaper items tagged Isaac Nathan for 1842:

"MARRIED", The Sydney Herald (3 February 1842), 3

"CONCERT. To the Editor", The Australian (31 May 1842), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Herald (2 June 1842), 1

"Mr. Nathan's Concert", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (2 June 1842), 3

"MR. NATHAN AND HIS AIRS IN AUSTRALIA", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (18 August 1842), 3 

To any one at all conversant with the sublime science of music, it must appear that the land we love promises as fair as ever did Italia; and there may be found, yet, some day, a feminine admirer of the divinity of sounds equal to the celebrated, but unfortunate, Mary Queen of Scots, and a performer as Sardanapalian as the equally unfortunate Rizzio. Mr. Nathan, since his arrival amongst us, has earned "golden opinions of all sorts of men," and his endeavours to set to music the poetry of the highly gifted Mrs. Dunlop, adds another laurel to the crown won by his meritorious adaptation of Byron's Hebrew melodies. Still, "Koorinda Braia" strikes us, with all its nativeness, as a hoax on that science which is a kin to mathematics; and if any one more gifted than another with the rudiments of Apollo's school can descry a refinement of harmony in the aforesaid "Koorinda Braia," we lay our judgment on the shelf. "Star of the South," and "Mable Macmahon" have but an ordinary standing, in our opinion, to a good judge; still are there beauties of composition in the music, as well as the poetry, which deserved much admiiation, and we would fondly hope that the fair authoress of the poetry, and the renowned composer of the music will long live to establish the fame of Australia.

[We insert the above facetious paragraph which has been written for our columns by an itinerant musician. Mr. N. cannot take offence at the jealousy of the poor unfortunate whose pocket and elbows bear a great similitude, being both out, - ED. SYD. GAZ.]

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (25 August 1842), 3 

STAR OF THE SOUTH - Inscribed to His Honor Mr. La Trobe.
MABLE MACMAHON - Inscribed to Roger Therry, Esq., Attorney-General.
KOORINDA BRAIA - lnscribed to Mrs. E. Deas Thomson.
THE EAGLE CHIEF - Inscribed to Lady O'Connell.
THE ABORIGINAL MOTHER - Inscribed to Lady Gipps.
National Anthem LONG LIVE VICTORIA Inscribed to Sir George Gipps.
Published by the Composer, Ada Cottage, Prince street.


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"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (3 April 1843), 3

On Saturday morning, at the residence of her father, Elizabeth-street, in the sixteenth year of her age, Rosetta Nathan, daughter of J. Nathan, Esq. This highly accomplished, amiable, and virtuous young lady, who was but a few hours ago the pride and delight of her family and friends, calmly slept in death after two short days' illness, leaving her afflicted family inconsolable for their sudden but irreparable loss.

"ROSETTA NATHAN'S DIRGE", The Sydney Morning Herald (25 April 1843), 2


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"MUSIC AND MUSICIANS", The Australian (1 August 1844), 3


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"SOCIETY FOR DESTITUTE CHILDREN", The Sydney Morning Herald (17 January 1860), 4

The annual examination of the children of the above institution was held in the buildings of the Society, at Randwick, yesterday. A very large number of persons interested in the progress of the institution were assembled on the occasion, amonst these we noticed Lady Denison, Sir A. Stephen and family . . . the Hon. E. D. Thomson, C.B., and lady . . . Before separating, Mr. Nathan performed on the harmonium, while the children sang several appropriate pieces of music . . . Under the auspices of Mr. Nathan, who, presided at the harmonium the children then executed a pastoral chorus from Acis and Galatea, with very good effect, though there was one remarkable feature in this, which was that principally the young children sang, while those who had been most forward in answering the questions during examination remained immovable . . .

"DESTITUTE CHILDREN'S ASYLUM", Empire (21 February 1860), 8 

The Annual General Meeting of the Destitute Children's Asylum, adjourned from the 6th instant, was held yesterday evening, in the Castlereagh-street School-room, the Hon. E. Deas Thomson in the chair . . . The general Report was as follows: . . .

. . . 11. Before speaking of the donations so liberally made during the past year, the directors have to perform the pleasing duty of acknowledging the services rendered to the institution by Mr. Nathan, of Byron Lodge, Coogee, who, with great perseverence and at the sacrifice of much time, planned, and brought to a successful termination a concert in aid of the society's funds, in which many of the children took part, and which realised the sum of £160. The directors recommend that Mr. Nathan be elected a Life Governor, in testimony of the subscribers' appreciation of his liberality, not only on this occasion, but in devoting so large a portion his time and talent in gratuitously instructing the children in music . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (30 March 1860), 1 

BYRON LODGE, RANDWICK. - With every proper sense of feeling for the honour done me by authors who so condescendingly transmit to my care their poetical effusions to be united to my musical strains - to save misconstrued opinions as to the motive of my declining such proffered kindness - I consider myself called upon to state that I have unfinished works and valuable MSS. from the pens of the leading poets of my day, which, chiefly from want of time, I have not yet been able to lay before the public. I must, therefore, under such circumstances, be excused the intimation to poets who desire their stanzas set to music by me to enclose with such stanzas a fee of ten guineas - reserving to myself all right and title to the copyright.

In reply to applications for my professional card, my terms are - For singing and theory of music, in town, one hour's visit, one guinea. In the country, within running stages, not less than two hours' visit, two guineas.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (6 November 1860), 8 

READY for press and will be published in Sydney, when the author finds himself indemnified from all risk by the engagement of 200 Subscribers at two guineas each.

The CYCLOPAEDIA VOCALIS containing exercises for the cultivation and strengthening of the human voice; with complete instructions in singing, from the first rudiments to a perfect mastery in the art. The vocal exercises are progressively arranged for the daily practice of time, rhythm, intonation, articulation, expression, flexibility, enunciation, and elocution, with various fanciful and classical Pianoforte and Organ accompaniments and modulations in all the major and minor keys, making the ear acquainted with the variety of basses, concords, discords, and progressions of harmony, which one and the same melody is capable of producing. The work will be replete with the origin and definition of every mnsical term; and illustrations on the use and abuse of every branch of the science.

Mr. NATHAN'S "Musurgia Vocalis," his "Essay on the history and theory of music, and on the qualities, capabilities, and management of the human voice," dedicated, by command to George IV., - which Garcia, David, Braham, Catalani, Podore, and Malibran, did not think derogatory to their high standing to use as morning exercises; and to recommend to their musical friends, as a sure mode of acquiring correct intonation, expression, and flexibility - both publications having been honoured by flattering eulogiums from all the leading papers of England, THE LITERARY GAZETTE, July 26th and September 6th; MORNING POST, June 7th; THE SUN, May 24th; BELL'S LIFE IN LONDON, May 18th; NEW TIMES, October 23rd; QUARTERLY MUSICAL REVIEW, No. xix; LA BELLE ASSEMBLEE, &c., &c., in the year 1823, and in the press of France, and Rome, where the author has never been; REVUE ENCYCLOPEDIQUE, 15th October, 1823; and DIARIO DI ROMA.

"Barbitos, excidium Gentis Bellique ruina,
Eheu! quam quondam depulit arce sacra
Mellifluis resonans fibris tua carmina, Nathan,
Suspendit templo, ut serta decora, Dei
Te cithara vatum jam jam recinente supersunt
Nec tua jam tacuit Musa Vetusta, Salem!"

These works, now long out of print, and repeatedly enquired for, as is also the book of three lectures, of '30, which were printed here, as delivered by Mr. Nathan at the Old Sydney College - he has been encouraged to revise and prepare for publication the whole of them with historical illustrations, and other interesting matter connected with every branch of musical science, forming the Cyclopaedia above named, in one royal quarto volume. Price Two Guineas. Subscribers names, (which will be published with the work) received by the author at Byron Lodge, Randwick.


To call up all the TROVE newspaper items tagged Isaac Nathan for 1861:

November 1861

12 November 1861, concert

30 December 1861, concert

1861 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 30 December, p. 1. , viewed 22 May 2018,

1861 'No title', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 31 December, p. 5. , viewed 22 May 2018,

1862 'No title', Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), 4 January, p. 5. , viewed 22 May 2018,

1862 'Metropolitan Correspondence.', Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904), 4 January, p. 2. , viewed 22 May 2018,


To call up all the TROVE newspaper items tagged Isaac Nathan for 1862:

"NEWS AND NOTES. BY A SYDNEY MAN. CLXXVIII", The Courier (7 January 1862), 4 

. . . Mr. Nathan, the author of "Koreenda Braaia," "Hey diddle diddle," and other romantic poems, and well known as the bore of Lord Byron with his Hebrew Melody music, gave a concert last night, which I hear was good for the megrims, and kept the audience in rare laughing exercise. The poor old gentleman is quite a character, and evidently has become utterly unconscious of what he must surely have known in his earlier days - namely that he is a hum--- guess the rest . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (7 June 1862), 8 

On THURSDAY, June 12th, at 11 o'clock. At 230, George-street, the Old Bank of Australasia. To the Musical and Learned Public of New South Wales. MESSRS. WALTER BRADLEY and CO. have been instructed by I. Nathan, Esq., to submit to public competition, on THURSDAY, June 12th, at 11 o'clock, The following most valuable, curious, and rare editions of standard works (the collection of upwards of fifty years), after which will offered a large selection of songs, &c, many of which were expressly written by Lord Byron, for his friend, Mr. Nathan, and set to music by the latter: -

[Various classical and other philosophical and theoretical works by others, including John Locke, John Milton, Flavius Josephus, Plutarch, Cicero, Thomas Morley] . . .

Nathan - Southern Euphrosyne: moral and religious interesting original oriental Tales; notes, anecdotes, observations, and arguments from Erudite and Divine writers; true account of the aboriginal musical scale in reference to the affinity of its intonation to that of the ancient Greeks, illustrated by several native melodies, cooeys, &c, to modern rhythm, harmonized for one to one-and-twenty voices, and may be sung by a single voice or in full chorus.

Nathan - History of Music, and its effects on the mind.

Lord Byron - "Hebrew Melodies" (48 in number) complete in 4 volumes, and all set to music by Nathan, with notes, anecdotes, interesting conversations, and observations made by the noble poet.

Nathan - Three Lectures of the 30 delivered by him at the old Sydney College, on the origins of notes and scales of music. Instructions, illustrated by daily exercises, for framing, cultivating, and strengthening the various tones in the human voice, from the first rudiments to the most delicate masterly climax of singing, as regards intonation, rhythm, flexibility, and correct expression.

[Various musical theoretical works, and musical scores, by others]

Nathan - Opera, "Merry Freaks in Troublous Times," composed in this colony, and sent off to England for representation at Covent Garden Theatre.

Nathan - Opera, "Alcaide."

Nathan - Choice selections from above 200 of his songs, &c. Many of these songs are out of print. Among these are several with full orchestral parts, stated by Jordan in the LITERARY GAZETTE (and admitted by all professors of Science) to be "a perfect study for all musical theorists in Europe."

Nathan - Variations for the pianoforte on "Why are You wandering here, I pray?" . . .

[Editorial note], The Sydney Morning Herald (12 June 1862), 5 

WE are requested by Messrs. Walter. Bradley and Co., to direct attention to their sale of the antiquarian and musical library of I. Nathan, Esq., comprising rare editions of historical, biographical, and lyrical compositions, by eminent, ancient, and modern authors, to take place at their rooms, 329, George-street, this day, Thursday, 12th June, at 11 o'clock precisely. For detailed particulars see last Saturday's Herald. - ADV.


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"CORONER'S INQUEST", Freeman's Journal (20 January 1864), 3 

The City Coroner held an inquest on Saturday, at the Sportsman's Arms Pitt and Goulburn Streets, on the body of Mr. Isaac Nathan aged 74, who was killed on Friday afternoon by falling under the wheels of the tram-car at the corner of Goulburn-street . . .

The intelligence of the sudden death of Mr. Nathan caused a profound sensation of sorrow throughout Sydney, where he was universally respected. He was a most accomplished musician and has composed a large number of well known songs and other pieces though the greater part of his music, among which are some operas are not so well known as they deserve to be. Probably now that death has snatched him away from us, his musical talents may be better appreciated than they were during his life time. His remains were interred on Sunday, but at the desire of his family the funeral was a strictly private one.

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 January 1864), 1 

On the 15th instant, at Sydney, New South Wales, in the 74th year of his age, Isaac Nathan, Esq., composer of music.

"THE LATE MR. ISAAC NATHAN", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 January 1864), 8 

A FATAL and most distressing casualty, which resulted in the death of Mr. Isaac Nathan, occurred on the tramway, in Pitt-street, at its intersection with Goulburn-street, on the afternoon of 15th January. It appears that Mr. Nathan was a passenger by No. 2 tramway car, which at about five o'clock was going along Pitt-street in the direction of the Redfern railway terminus. At about that hour the car was stopped at the corner of Goulburn-street, where a number of its occupants got out - some of them by the front of the vehicle, and others at the back of it. Mr. Nathan, who lived at No 442, Pitt-street, a few yards distant, alighted from the car at the southern end, but before he had got clear of the rails the car moved onwards, and the deceased gentleman was unhappily crushed beneath one of its wheels. It is said that, either in getting out or in trying to avoid the car, Mr. Nathan grasped hold of the railing in front of it, and he was thus whirled round by the sudden motion of the carriage and his body was brought under the front wheel. The wheel did not actually pass over Mr. Nathan, but was dragged on to his body, crushing his back and shoulders in a frightful manner. The unfortunate gentleman died almost instantly. He was removed to his residence, where Dr. Charles Nathan of Macquarie-street (deceased's son), Dr. O'Brien, and Dr. Walker were soon afterwards in attendance, though, as it is understood, not before he was extinct.

Mr. Nathan was in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and was born in Canterbury, England. He was widely known and greatly respected, and his untimely death will be heard of by many with sincere regret. He had lived in the colony for twenty-three years, and he for some time dwelt at Randwick before removing to his late residence in Pitt-street. He was an accomplished musician and, as is well known, he was for a long time conductor of the different musical associations in Sydney. Mr. Nathan was a music composer of acknowledged ability, and as such he had, before coming to settle in this colony, acheived a European reputation. The music set to the Hebrew Melodies of Lord Byron was from the pen of this talented composer, and he was also the author of a work on the theory of music. Mr. Nathan's last composition was a piece entitled "A song to Freedom," a copy of which it may be mentioned, was sent through his Excellency Sir John Young, to her Majesty the Queen.

An inquest was subsequently held by the City Coroner, and the evidence of the several witnesses was substantially the same as stated above. We append Dr. Walker's evidence, who, in conjunction with Dr. O'Brien made an examination of the body. Dr. Walker states that on examining the chest great mobility of the ribs, together with crepitation, was observable; the lower half of the thorax, from the third rib downwards was severely injured, the ribs on the right side being broken into numerous comminuted fragments, whilst those on the left half of the chest had been broken near their attachment to the spine. Witness was of opinion that the injuries were the result of a severe crush, and that a wheel had not passed over the chest of the deceased; the injuries to the ribs, and compression of the heart, lungs and liver were the cause of death, which must have been instantaneous; the extremities of the deceased were not injured; the body must have been dragged or pushed forward; deceased had apparently been on his back in the first instance, and had then been turned on to his left side; witness judged from the injuries done to the deceased's clothes that the carriage must have been in motion; he had seen deceased a day or two before his death, when he appeared to be in perfect health. The Coroner summed up, and the jury, after about half-an-hour's deliberation, returned the following verdict: - "We consider the death of Mr. Isaac Nathan resulted from his being crushed under a tram car while it was in slow motion and just upon his alighting therefrom, and that it was the result of accident; but we think the communication between the front and back breaksmen is very imperfect, and that more caution should be used in future." The remains of the late Mr. Nathan were intered on the 17th instant, in the Cemetery, at Camperdown.

"NEWS AND NOTES. BY A SYDNEY MAN. CCLXX. SYDNEY, JANUARY 18", The Courier [Brisbane] (23 January 1864), 3 

. . . We have been startled by another fatal accident. Poor old Professor Nathan, the composer of the "Hebrew Melodies," for which Byron wrote the words, has been killed by falling out of a tramway car. The circumstances of the case ware thus detailed at the inquest:

"Charles Edward Morris stated that he got on tram car No. 2 at twenty-five minutes to five o'olock on Friday afternoon; he was inside, towards the front of the car, with the deceased gentleman; when the car stopped at Goulburn-street, deceased left the front for the purpose of getting out; witness fancied he used both hands; he was sure the car was not in motion when deceascd placed his left foot on the ground, but it might have moved before his other foot reached the ground; he was getting out backwards, when he immediately fell on to his side; the car caught him on the right side of the chest, and he was forced against the connecting rod; witness jumped out, and found him jambed under the car; the car had then only proceeded a couple of yards and stopped; they had to run the car back eighteen inches to get him from beneath, and witness was satisfied the wheel never touched him; he fell behind the dashboard, his head towards the wheels; he was crushed against a piece of iron upon which the springs worked, and which was about a foot from the rails; he was carried to the footpath; the men in chargo did not appear to be in a hurry - Dr. Walker stated that about a quarter after five o'clock on Friday afternoon he was called to see the deceased, who had been removed to his house; he arrived at the same moment as Dr. O'Brien and Mr. Charles Nathan, but deceased was dead; Dr. O'Brien and witness, at the request of Mr. Charles Nathan, examined the body; they found the left side of the coat and trousers much tattered from having been dragged over an uneven surface; the body presented no marks of violence, but on examining the chest great mobility of the ribs with crackling or crepitation was observable; severo injury had been inflicted from the third rib downwards, the ribs on the right side were broken into numerous fragments, and those on the left half of the chest were broken near their attachment to the spine. He was of opinion that the injuries were the result of a severe crush, and that no wheel had passed over the chest; the injuries to the ribs and compression of the heart, lungs, and liver, were the causo of death, which must have been instantaneous; deceased's extremities were uninjured. By Coroner: The body must have been dragged or pushed forward; witness thought he was first on his back, and then turned on to his left side. Verdict: We find that the decoascd, Isaac Nathan, aged seventy-four years, came by his death by being crushed under the tram-car while in slow motion, and just upon alighting therefrom; and that it was the result of accident; but we think the communication between the front and back breaksmen to be very imperfect, and that more caution should be used in future."

Most people whom I have heard express an opinion on the subject think that there must be some mistake about the age of the deceased, and that he is much older than is here stated. I cannot at this moment refer to the dato of publication of the Hobrow Melodies, but it must have been, I think, about forty-five years ago. Most people are familiar with the disgusted manner in which Byron used to speak of his share in those melodies; but, after all, it must be remembered that Lord Byron was about this time in high feathers with the dandies of the age, and that in those days a Jew was nearly as much a Pariah in the fashionable world as Shylock is represented to have been amongst the promenaders on the Venetian Rialto. If the late Mr. Nathan had preserved a faithful journal of his times, it would have been interesting, and its publication would have been a good speculation, for he must have been thrown occasionally into the society of some vory remarkable men at a very remarkable time. The sayings and doings of such men as Byron, Moore, Shelley, Scott, Wordworth, Coleridge, Southey, &c., with most of whom he had probably in some degree associated, have still a charm for the literary gossip. But whether rightly or wrongly I cannot say, there has always been a strong impression of late years that Mr. Nathan's intellect was impaired. On his first arrival in tho colony he did some very ridiculous things - published, with a most fearful flourish of puffing trumpets, a sort of musical lexicon, with a jaw-brenking Greek title; composed music for the Australian nigger melody, "Coreenda Braaia," as he called it, and, if I mistake not, got a whole chorus to chant it somewhere, like a lot of blackfellows. Then, when he became disgusted at what he considered want of appreciation, he wrote and composed what was meant to be a suitable song for Sydney, or Botany Bay, the burden being a complimentary remark and injunction as to the manner of succeeding in this part of the world:

Knavery is sure to thrive,
And flattery's an estate,
So live by your wits, and mind your hits,
To hum the rich and great!

The language and the sentiment would, no doubt, have been very appropriate in such a place as Nowgnto, for instance, but they were not taken in very good part here at the time . . .

"THE MUSICAL YEAR", The London review (7 January 1865), 43 

Among the deaths of musical celebrities during the year, that of Meyerbeer (on May 2nd) involves the greatest loss to the art, as, although he had reached the age of seventy, he had shown no signs of diminished powers . . . Prince Poniatowski, an aristocratic musical amateur, died during the year . . . and Madame Garcia, mother of Malibran and Viardot-Garcia, are to be added to the foreign musical obituary. Of our own nation, we have to chronicle the deaths of Mrs. Wood (as Miss Paton, the original Roiza in Weber's "Oberon") and Mr. Nathan, a composer of small merit, but helped into some notoriety as the coadjutor of Lord Byron in the Hebrew melodies.

Documentation (after 1864)

"NATHAN THE COMPOSER", Notes and queries series 6 volume 8 (22 December 1883), 494 

NATHAN, THE COMPOSER. Can any of your readers inform mee who Nathan, the composer of the music of Byron's Hebrew Melodies was, and whom he married? D. A. K.

"NATHAN THE COMPOSER", Notes and queries series 6 volume 9 (1884), 71-72, 

NATHAN THE COMPOSER (6th S. viii. 494) was born at Canterbury in 1792, and named Isaac by his parents, who intended him for the Hebrew priesthood, and sent him to Cambridge to be educated by the Hebrew professor; but his evident passion for music caused them to alter their plans, and he was articled to Domenico Corri, a celebrated musician of the day. He composed several successful songs, which brought him under the notice of Lord Byron, to whom he was introduced by the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird. Nathan's acquaintance with the poet resulted in the joint production of the Hebrew Melodies. He was a sweet singer, but his voice was not strong enough for Covent Garden, where he failed. He wrote An Essay on the History and Theory of Music, and was much esteemed as a teacher. He emigrated to New South Wales, where he was accidentally killed by a tram-car in Sydney, Jan. 15, 1864.


This gentleman was a well-known musical composer and historian residing in London. He composed the music for, and subsequently became, by purchase, possessor of the copyright of the Hebrew Melodies of Lord Byron, and is several times alluded to, or quoted from, in the notes to Murray's editions of the Poems. He published an interesting volume, not readily attainable now, entitled:

"Fugitive Pieces and Reminiscences of Lord Byron containing an 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, Aneclotes, 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, 1829, 8vo. pp. 196.

From the autograph letters reproduced in facsimile in this volume, it would appear that Nathan was on the most intimate terms of familiarity with the noble poet. In one of them "my dear Nathan" is invited to dine with his lordship at the Albany at seven, with the intimation that "no refusal" will be taken; and in another, dated January, 1815, permission is asked for Murray to include the Melodies in a "complete edition" of the writer's "poetical effusions." Byron adds, "I certainly wish to oblige the gentleman; but you know, Nathan, it is against all good fashion to give and take back. I cannot grant what is not at my disposal." From this it would appear that Byron gave the copyright to the musician; but against this is the distinct assertion of the latter, in a letter to Braham, inviting him to join in the republication of the Melodies, that "he had purchased the copyright from S___'s assignees."

Looking at these proofs of the intimacy which at one time must have existed between Byron and Nathan, it seems odd that no reference to the matter is to be found in the Index to Moore's edition of the Poems, or in that to the Life and Letters. Possibly some rupture had taken place. Anyway, Moore was wont to carp at "the manner in which some of the melodies had been set to music"; extorting, on one occasion, the exclamation from the poet, "Sunburn Nathan! Why do you always twit me with his 'Ebrew nasalities?" On another occasion (Feb. 22, 1815), writing to [72] Moore, who says in a note that "he had taken the liberty of laughing a little" at the music, Byron says, "Curse the Melodies and the Tribes to boot! Braham is to assist or hath assisted but will do no more good than a second physician. I merely interfered to oblige a whim of Kinnaird's, and all I have got by it was a 'speech' and a receipt for stewed oysters." Somewhat at variance this with the statement put into the mouth of Byron when some one in his presence insisted upon the necessity of bringing out the Melodies in a luxurious style: " Nathan, do not suffer that capricious fool to lead you into more expense than is absolutely necessary; bring out the work to your own taste: I have no ambition, to gratify, beyond that of proving useful to you" (p. 94).

Mr. Nathan states that on the first publication of the Hebrew Melodies he was visited at his residence in Poland Street by Sir Walter Scott. "I sang," says he, "several of the melodies to him, he repeated his visit, and requested I would allow him to introduce his lady and his daughter: they came together, when I had the pleasure of singing to them 'Jephthah's Daughter,' and one or two more of the most favorite airs; they entered into the spirit of the music with all the true taste and feeling so peculiar to the Scotch."

"Mr. Scott," he adds, "again called upon me to take leave before his visit to Scotland; we entered into conversation respecting the sublimity and beauty of Lord Byron's poetry, and he spoke of his lordship with admiration, exclaiming, 'He is a man of wonderful genius he is a great man.' " - P. 85.

Nathan was also author of an important work, An Essay on the History and Theory of Music, and on the Qualities, Capabilities, and Manage- ment of the Human Voice, Lond., royal 4to., 1823, price 2l.


[137] NATHAN THE COMPOSER (6th S. viii. 494; ix. 71). I have been much interested in the answers concerning Nathan the composer, but would much like to learn some further particulars of his personal history. Was he married, and to whom; and do any descendants exist? What was his nationality; was he a Pole? DELTA. 

[178] NATHAN THE COMPOSER (6 th S. viii. 494; ix. 71, 137). I knew Nathan, and am sure he was not a foreigner. J. HOW. 

[197] NATHAN THE COMPOSER (6 th S. viii. 494; ix. 71, 137, 178). Nathan the composer married, but whom I am not aware, nor do I know how many children he had; but I know that one was a medical man of high repute and much esteemed in Sydney. He married and had a large family. Both he and his wife are dead. One of their sons (Robert) is at present an officer in the New South Wales Regular Artillery, and A.D.C. to his Excellency Lord Augustus Loftus, Governor of New South Wales. I cannot say what countryman the grandfather was. GUNNER. 

[355] NATHAN THE COMPOSER (6th S. viii. 494; ix. 71, 137, 178, 197). - Several years ago I rescued from the hands of the butterman a copy of a work by Nathan, printed at Sydney by forster, 334, Pitt Street, North, entered at Stationer's Hall, and published by Whittaker & Co., Ave Maria Lane, London, and at the editor's residence, 105, Hunter Street, Sydney. The book is in small quarto, undated, but by some advertisements of musical compositions, an "Index to a Series of Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Music, delivered by the Author at the Sydney College, New South Wales," and other matters, I gather that it must have appeared about the year 1845 or 1846; and, from internal evidence, probably in monthly or weekly numbers. Among "Replies to Communications is a paper headed "Victim," from which it appears that the cause of Nathan's leaving England for Sydney was his failure to obtain from the Melbourne Ministry a recognition of a claim of 2,326l. which he had, or fancied he had, for work done and money expended in the service of the Crown. The odd sum of 326l, seems to have been paid, and the larger balance of 2,000l disallowed. Nathan insinuates that there was a good deal of shuffling and foul play on the part of Lord Melbourne and the Treasury in withholding the whole sum from him. The following copy of the title-page will give an idea of the miscellaneous contents of this work:

"The Southern Euphrosyne and Australian Miscellany, containing Oriental Moral Tales, Original Anecdote, Poetry, and Music; an Historical Sketch, with Examples of the Native Aboriginal Melodies, put into modern rhtymn, and harmonized as Solos, Quartetettes, &c., together with several other original vocal pieces, arranged to a piano-forte accompaniment by the Editor and sole Proprietor, I. Nathan, author of The Hebrew Melodies, The Musurgia Vocalis, the successful Music in Sweethearts and Wives, The Illustrious Stranger, The King's Fool, &c."

E. McC___. Guernsey.

"Australian 'At Home' in London", Evening News (26 August 1885), 6 

"AUSTRALIAN 'AT HOME' IN LONDON", Morning Bulletin (10 September 1885), 6 

. . . The European Mail gives the following additional or fuller particulars:

There was a very large and influential gathering at Mrs. J. Henniker Heaton's "At Home," at De Vere Gardens, Kensington Palace, on July 13. Several Australians who had not seen each other for many years were thus brought together, giving rise to the wish that "At Homes" were more frequent among colonists than they are. The programme of the amusements provided for the guests was both ample and recherche. It included the Australian Coo-ee song (as arranged by Isaac Nathan), by Madame Sanderini and Mr. Cattermole, with a chorus of ten voices from the Savoy Theatre. This song, which was capitally rendered, was received with much applause . . .

Fred Lyster, "MOZART'S IDEA OF CONFORMANCE", Belford's Magazine 5 (1890), 238-41

In the year 1865 [sic] I was the manager of an opera company in Australia, and in the course of business I commenced a season in Sydney, N. S. W. In our repertory were, of course, Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Le Nozze di Figaro." The first-named opera was sung with success, emboldened by which I put up the latter for performance the following week. While rehearsing I dropped into the music store of Mr. Elvy, on George street, to see how the sale of seats was going on. While there an aged gentleman, with long white hair and a gracious, polished manner, accosted me. "I beg pardon, Mr. Lyster," said he, "but I should like to introduce myself as an old musician and to compliment you on the manner in which your company has interpreted the great work of my friend and master, Mozart." I gazed at the old gentleman in blank astonishment. "The friend and pupil of Mozart," said I, "and alive?" "Alive and kicking, as you see," ejaculated the ancient musician. "My name is Nathan, and I am the composer of the music to Lord Byron's "Hebrew Melodies." "Good gracious!" I ejaculated; "why, the composer of the 'Hebrew Melodies' has been dead these twenty years!" "I am quite aware," answered Mr. Nathan, "that my name is registered among the defunct musicians, but I am alive and well for all that. The fact is, that I was a martyr to asthma, and found the climate of England too severe for me, so I came out to Australia in search of good health, and have been here for many years. My son is a physician in good practice in this city, and I am satisfied to be dead to the world, so long as I am alive to my family and friends." So we chatted along and the old gentleman called up many reminiscences of former days. Stories of Lord Byron, Mme. Pasta, Rubini, Tamburini, and Lablache fell from his lips as if anecdotes of yesterday; it was like going back a couple of generations. At last be said: "Now, my dear sir, you really did 'Don Giovanni' very creditably, considering that you have lost the tradition of the style of Mozart, and, if you will allow me, I shall be glad to show you scores of that great opera and the scarcely less important 'Nozze di Figaro,' annotated and embellished by Mozart himself, in his own handwriting, by which you may guide your singers in the next production." I was deliehted and expressed my gratitude to Mr. Nathan for his kindness. "Suppose you dine with me tomorrow," said the old man, "and we can have a good long talk over the way in which Mozart shonld be sung." "With pleasure," I assented, and we parted with that understanding. On the morrow I did not fail to turn up, and, after a pleasant little dinner, Mr. Nathan produced the scores of both operas in the rough but legible type of the period in which they were composed. "Now," said he, "there scores are, as you see, all annotated, and, I give you my word, by the great master himself. You will perceive that the bald modern manner of singing these melodies was not contemplated by the composer. In his day vocalists were artists and composers trusted to their taste to introduce florituri and graces of their own, thereby enlivening the work and displaying their own particular excellence of cadenza, scales, volata, and shakes. For instance, examine this air." Turning to the beautiful song "Vedrai Carino," in "Don Giovanni," I looked and was amazed. Instead of the plain melody, I saw a cloud of penciling; nearly every note was surrounded by turns, grace notes, shakes, and other flights of fancy. "There," said the old musician, "that Is the true Mozart style, and I shall be happy to teach you prima donna lirica, Mme. Durand, who is a very clever girl, to give the proper effect to her part in the future." "My dear sir," said I, "I am infinitely obliged for your offer, but if I should dare to have the music of Serlina sung in that florid manner, I should be hunted out of town by the critics." "What!" indignantly replied Mr. Nathan, "would the ignorant boys who write stupid notices in the newspapers have the impudence to find fault with Mozart's own embellishments?" "Aye, that would they," said I; "they would call them forgeries. A chaste simplicity is, in modern opinion, the distinguishing characteristic of classical music" "Bother!" exclaimed Mr. Nathan. "It was a singer's business to ornament his music with all the resource of his art. Volate. gruppetti, trille e la scala cromatica e diatonica were the tools of his trade. Do you imagine that Farinelli, Caffarelli or Mara ever sang the mnsic as it was written? Why, my dear sir, those great artists would as soon have gone on the stage undressed as to give the bare melody. The composer furnished the body; the singer clothed it. It was not till Rossini limited that extravagance of ornament by writing his own fiorituri that this modern school of purists was thought of. He first began to destroy the art of singing with his confounded restrictions and it has been going down ever since, till now it is mere declamation. There are no vocalists now. Mozart, sir, would have laughed at them." I respected the old gentleman's opinions, backed as they were by the master's own writing, but, much to Mr. Nathan's disgust, I had not the courage to give "Don Giovanni" or "Le Nozze" as Mozart intended they should be given. Nous avons changé tout cela - FRED LYSTER.


A NUMBER of exhibits of especial interest to co-religionists were included in a collection belonging to Mr. Coleman P. Hyman, displayed at the conversazione recently held in the great hall of the Sydney University in connection with the Library Association of Australasia.

Among autographs was one (written in 1858) of Baron Lionel de Rothschild, the first Jewish member of Parliament and father of Lord Rothschild, the first Jewish peer. Another was a holograph letter written in 1844 by Sir Moses Montefiore, the first Jew knighted by the Queen. Others were of Sir Julian Goldsmid and Sir Philip Magnus. Dated from "Byron Lodge," Coogee, was a letter by Isaac Nathan, composer, song-writer, musical historian to King George IV., and intimate friend of Lord Byron, whose "Hebrew Melodies" he set to music prior to settling in Sydney, where he was subsequently killed in 1864 by falling from one of the first steam trams in the city . . .

"Deaths", The Sydney Morning Herald (27 September 1900), 1

"FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR. ALFRED NATHAN", The Sydney Morning Herald (1 October 1900), 5

"SYDNEY MOSS: Master Musician. AN APPRECIATION", Jewish Herald (6 June 1902), 4 

"News and Views", The Hebrew Standard of Australasia (17 June 1910), 9-10 

A recent "Bulletin" says there is talk of reproducing some of Isaac Nathan's old aboriginal melodies. Very few Australians, even in Sydney, where Nathan was once a musical guide, can show a copy of any of the author's numerous productions. His work ranged from oratorios to aboriginal songs; and his setting of Byron's Hebrew melodies won the praise of England and the Continent of Europe. A local piece [10] consisting of solo, quartette and chorus, intended to represent aboriginal life, was taken as a work of genius by the public of the '40's and '50's; it would certainly be worth reproduction now. Nathan arrived in Sydney in his prime in 1841, threw himself heartily into the local musical life, and worked up a splendid organisation for the development of local talent. He might have achieved a great deal more, but a tram accident was the cause of his untimely death.

Selected works (England)

KEY: Extant works (published or MS); Lost works (or no copy yet identified)


Essay on the history and theory of music 1824

An essay on the history and theory of music, and on the qualities, capabilities and management of the human voice by I. Nathan, author of The Hebrew melodies &c. &c. &c.

(London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1823) 

No digitised copy identified

Fugitive pieces 1829

Fugitive pieces and reminiscences of Lord Byron: containing an 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, by I. Nathan, author of An essay on the history and theory of music, The Hebrew melodies, &c. &c.

(London: Whittaker, Treacher, and Co., 1829) 

Copy at Duke University Libraries (DIGITISED F/C)

Copies at Harvard University Library, and University of California Library (DIGITISED B/W) (DIGITISED B/W)

Mursurgia vocalis 1836

Musurgia vocalis: an essay on the history and theory of music and on the qualities, capabilities, and management of the human voice, second edition, enlarged and considerably improved, by I. Nathan

(London: Fentum, 1836)

Copy at the University of Toronto Library (DIGITISED)

Copy at the University of Chicago Library (DIGITISED B/W) (DIGITISED B/W)

Memoirs of Malibran 1836

Memoirs of Madame Malibran de Beriot by I. Nathan, author of "The Hebrew melodies," "Musurgia vocalist," etc.

(London, 1836) 

Second edition (London: Joseph Thomas; Cramer, Addison, and Beale; Simpkin and Marshall, 1836)

Copy at the State Library of New South Wales (not digitised)

Third edition (London: Joseph Thomas, 1836)

Copy at the British Library (DIGITISED)

Also German trans., 1837

* * *


Sweethearts and wives 1823

Sweethearts and wives; comic opera, in 3 acts, play by J. Kenney; FP" London, Haymarket, 7 July 1823; music by Nathan, John Whitaker, T. S. Cooke and George Perry

Word book:

Songs, duets, chorusses, &c. &c. in the new operatic comedy of Sweethearts & wives; the music by Messrs. Whitaker, Nathan, T. Cooke, & Perry; first performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, on Monday, July 7th, 1823

(London: John Miller, 1823)

Copy at the British Library (DIGITISED)

Complete play book, after later US production:

Sweethearts and wives, in three acts . . . carefully corrected from the prompt books of the Philadelphia Theatre

(Philadelphia: A. R. Poole, and Ash & Mason, 1827) (DIGITISED)

Separate numbers:

Billy Lack-a-day's lament; written by James Kenney Esq.; the music composed & arranged for the pianoforte by I. Nathan

(London: J. Fentum, [1823]) (not digitised)

How can you abuse an easy woman so; the celebrated duet, written by James Kenney Esq.; the music (subject from the French) composed & arranged by I. Nathan

(London: J. Fentum, [1823]) (not digitised)

The offerings, Love, we bring to thee, the popular duet; written by James Kenny Esq.; the music composed & arranged for the piano forte by I. Nathan

(London: J. Fentum, [1823]) (not digitised)

Why are you wandering here I pray, the popular ballad; written by James Kenney esqr.; the music composed and newly arranged with appropiate ornaments, &. by I. Nathan

(London: J. Fentum, [1823]) 

4th edition (London: J. Fentum, [1823]) (DIGITISED)

[Review of 1823 sheet music prints] "SWEETHEARTS AND WIVES", The harmonicon 1/1 (October 1823), 147 

1. "Go Rover, Go," a Song sung by Madame Westris, in the Operatic Comedy, entitled Sweethearts and Wives. Composed and Arranged for the Piano-Forte, by John WHITAKER. (Whitaker and Co. St. Paul's Church-yard.)
2. "MY LAURA'S SMILE, WHEN LAST WE MET," a Rondo, sung by Mr. Davis, in the same. Composed and published by the same.
3. "THE OLD STORY OVER AGAIN," a Ballad sung by Mrs. Jones, in the same. Composed and published by the same.
4. "HOW CAN YOW ABUSE AN EASY WOMAN SO?" A Duet sung by Miss Love and Mr. Liston, in the same. The Music arranged from a French subject, by I. NATHAN. (Fentum, 76, Strand.)
5. "BILLY LACK-A-DAY'S LAMENT,” sung, by Mr. Liston, in the same. Composed by I. NATHAN. (Fentum.)
6. "THE OFFERINGS, LOVE, WE BRING TO THEE," a Duet, sung by Mr. Davis and Mad. Vestris, in the same. I. NATHAN. (Fentum.)
7. "A SECRET," sung by Mrs. Jones, in the same. I. NATHAN. (Fentum.)
8. "I'LL NOT BE A MAIDEN FORSAKEN," sung by Miss Love in the same. I. NATHAN. (Fentum.)
9. "WHY ARE YOU WANDERING HERE, I PRAY?" a Ballad sung by Madame Vestris, in the same. I. NATHAN. (Fentum.)
10. "THY CHEEK, MY SWEET FAIR,” a Ballad, sung by Mr. Davis, in the same. Composed by GEORGE PERRY, Composer to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.
(Mayhew and Go., Music-sellers to the Royal Family, 17, Old Bond Street.)

The "Operatic Comedy" of Sweethearts and Wives has had a most fortunate career; it has run through a whole season, unrelieved by any other novelty, and continued to draw as much at the close as it did at the commencement. To the performers, namely, to Mr. Liston, whose exertions gave most effect to it, and to Madame Vestris, its next best support, must be mainly ascribed the applause and popularity which it has gained, for it is not very strong in itself; and the music, of which it is our chief business to speak, has no marked feature in it, and can have aided but little in sustaining the drama to which it is joined. Four gentlemen united their talents to compose the songs, &c., of which the operatic part of this piece consists. Tho portion supplied by Mr. Cooke, does not appear to be published. All of the remainder is, we believe, comprised in the above list. In those pieces which Mr. Whitaker has produced, an entire absence of all enterprise, a cautious determination not to travel out of the common track . . . are abundantly apparent . . . Mr. Nathan has been more adventurous than his colleague; greater effort is evinced in his compositions, and they have been the most successful. The duet, No. 4, from a French subject, has considerable dramatic merit. We are in the habit, in this country, of decrying French music, without being aware how much of it, in a disguised form, we applaud at our theatres, mistaking it for native produce, Mr. Nathan's renouncement of his claim to this duet is manly, and much to his credit. His ballad, No. 9, is very pretty, but most of its phrases are common; though the opening of it with an inversion of the diminished 7th, is new. For its popularity it is in a great measure indebted to the arch and insinuating manner in which it is sung, by one of the most facinating women on the stage. Mr. Perry would have shewn his discretion in not publishing his ballad, its triteness is oppressive . . . Before quitting this opera, we have to acknowledge the attention which its composers have paid to the language of the songs; if amongst them any perversion of the sense, or any error in prosody, is to be found, we can only say that it has escaped our observation.


The alcaid 1824

The alcaid; or Secrets of office; a comic opera in 3 acts (James Kenney); FP: London, Haymarket Theatre, 10 August 1824

List of musical numbers: 

Vocal score (composite):

The alcaid; or, The secrets of office, as performed at the Theatre-Royal, Haymarket, written by James Kenney; the music by I. Nathan

(London: J. Fentum, [1824])

Copy at the State Library of New South Wales (not digitised)

Word book:

[James Kenney], The alcaid; or, The secrets of office, a comic opera in three acts

(London: John Cumberland, [1824])

Later edition (London: John Cumberland, [1827])

Copy at the Library of Congress (DIGITISED)

Separate numbers, all (London: J. Fentum, [1824]), unless otherwise indicated:

Befriend us! Befriend us . . . (DIGITISED)

Haste, haste, I prythee haste away. . . (not digitised)

(Philadelphia: Published by G. E. Blake, n.d.) (DIGITISED)

Joy to the Alcaid . . . (not digitised)

Love thy timid whisp'ring tongue . . . (DIGITISED)

Sleep, sleep, those watchful eyelids close, a duet . . . (not digitised)

"THEATRES. THE HAYMARKET THEATRE", Morning Post (11 August 1824), 3

A Comic Opera was last night produced at this Theatre, entitled, The Alcaid, or the Secrets of Office.

The business of this Opera arises out of the irregularities which occur in the family of Don Christopher, the Alcaid, a very self-sufficient personage, who believes that nothing can escape his observation, and who considers his wife, his son, his niece, and himself, to furnish "a constellation of virtue, not to be equalled in all Spain." But the wife who can only find pleasure in obedience, desires to go to a masquerade, which the Alcaid wishes her not to visit. She and her niece are enabled to go by the connivance of a faithful Secretary, who is as great a paragon in his way, as the other individuals, who are so many ingredients in the Don's cup of bliss. Some embarrassment arises out of the masquerading as the Lady loses the key of her chambers, and cannot regain her apartment without being seen. The Don's suspicion is roused by seeing the wife and niece in their evening finery at an early hour in the morning; but the Secretary Petroso, who lies for the whole dramatis personae, gets them out of the scrape by pretending they had resolved on celebrating the Alcaid's birth-day a month before it arrives. The same story accounts for the sudden appearance of the son who was supposed to be studying at Salamanca, but who has been detained by a love affair at no great distance from tbe residence of his father. Both son and niece give their hearts where it was not the intention of the Alcaid to see them bestowed; but after a good deal of confusion, concealment, and discovery, he is reconciled to the choice which they make for themselves, and two additions are supplied by marriage to this exemplary family, with a fair prospect of a further increase.

This Opera is understood to be furnished by Mr. KENNEY; and, like most of that Gentleman's performances, is, we believe, taken from the French. We cannot say we find all that vivacity which we have admired in some of his former pieces; but there is a great deal of bustling contrivance, infinite confusion, and some pleasantries are thrown in, which enable the body of humourists comprehended in the cast to attack the gravity of the audience with great success.

The music by NATHAN is uniformly pretty. The Overture was very much applauded. Two songs by Madame VESTRIS and Miss PATON were encored, as was a duet between them, and a comic song by HARLEY. The former Lady acted the part of the Son with all her wonted playfulness. Mrs. GLOVER and Mrs. GIBBS contributed much to the general effect of the representation. The part sustained by Mrs. GARRICK was intended for Miss LOVE, who, we understand, has been lately indisposed. The readiness with which Mrs. GARRICK came forward to undertake it, and the manner in which she acquitted herself upon a short notice, were highly to her credit. We are happy to learn that Miss LOVE is convalescent, and likely soon to take the character intended for her by the author. FARREN gave an amusing picture of short-sighted sagacity in the Alcaid. LISTON, in a lying Secretary, played the rogue with infinite humour; and HARLEY, as a jealous husband, furnished a whimsical burlesque on some of the evils of matrimony. The Opera thus powerfully supported could not fail to please. It met with no opposition in its course, and was announced for repetition with universal applause.


The illustrious stranger 1827

The illustrious stranger; or, Married and buried, an operatic farce, in two acts (James Kenny); FP: London, Drury Lane Theatre, 4 October 1827

Word book:

[James Kenney], The illustrious stranger; or, Married and buried, an operatic farce, in two acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the music by Mr. Nathan

(London: Wm. Kenneth, 1827)

Copy at Harvard University Library (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Separate numbers, all:

(London: J. Fentum, [1827])

Dicky Dolus . . . (DIGITISED)

Hope once more; written by J. Kenny; composed by I. Nathan . . . (DIGITISED)

Oh! I weep for the hour . . . (DIGITISED)

To catch my Sukey's sighs . . . (DIGITISED)

This union the Gods have ordained . . . (DIGITISED)

"THEATRICALS. DRURY LANE", Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser (5 October 1827), 3

Last night Mr. Kean, jun. made his second appearance in the character of Douglas . . . After the Play of Douglas, a new Musical Farce, entitled The Illustrious Stranger; or, Married and Buried, was performed for the first time. It is founded on a story in The Arabian Nights, and has been dramatised before at some of the Minor Theatres with success. The story is simply this: - A custom prevails in the Island Malabar, that when married woman dies, her husband must be buried alive with her. Benjamin Bow Bell, (Mr. Liston) a Cockney, having voyaged with a cargo of tripe and butter in the Polly, Captain Swipes, has the misfortune to be shipwrecked, and cast shore on a hencoop at Malabar. He there meets with an old friend, Gimbo (Mr. Harley) who is in the service the King of the Island, Aboulifar (Mr. Thompson) has daughter, the Princess Irza (Mrs. Geesin), who is in love with Arzan (Mr. Bland); but Arzan had been exiled. Gimbo introduces his friend Bow Bell to the King, and the law of the land authorizing him to marry the Princess, the marriage takes place, and Bow Bell is invested with all the rights appertaining to his new rank. The marriage, however, does not sit easy the mind of Irza, who pines, and at length dies. Bow Bell is informed the necessity there is for his conforming to the laws of the land, and to be buried alive with his wife. This announcement produces some ludicrous situations. In the interim Arzan returns, and obtains a secret opportunity of meeting with Irza, and it is agreed that she shall buried when the denoument is to take place. The necessary preparations are made for the funeral, and some whimsical situations arise in consequence of the anxiety of Bow Bell to avoid premature interment. At length Arzan comes forward in disguise, and offers himself as substitute to be buried. This offer the law of Malabar recognizes, they are buried, and Bow Bell rejoices at his escape. Soon after, howerar, while the assembled Court are prostrate before the tomb of the supposed defunct, the doors suddenly open, and Arzan and Irza come forth, the latter being restored to life, her death being purely counterfeit. The King restores Arzan to favour, and the Piece concludes.

It will be seen that the piece is principally attractive in consequence of the ludicrous situation in which the Illustrious Stranger, Bow Bell, is placed, who lands in ragged and miserable plight, meets with a splendid wile, walks in his grave clothes to his funeral, and commits many foolish excesses in the course of the piece.

The Music, which is by Nathan, was very beautiful. Indeed, we should say, too good for such a piece. There were several very pretty songs, which were encored, one sung by Miss Love, called "Folly and Love." Harley had a comic song, entitled "Mrs. Dolus," which was also encored. The Overture was beautiful composition.

The Piece was given out for second representation with some very slight disapprobation; but we suspect it will have run, aided the attraction the music, which, as we have before observed, is of a higher character than generally falls to the lot of musical farces.

"NATHAN. V. PRICE", London Courier and Evening Gazette (30 May 1828), 4

The plaintiff is a celebrated musical composer, and the defendant is the lessee of Drury-lane Theatre. The action was brought to recover a compensation for the time and labour which the plaintiff had spent in the composition of the music of piece called the Illustrious Stranger, lately produced at Drury-lane.

Mr. Sergeant JONES stated the plaintiff's case. He said, that his client was a gentleman of great eminence as a musical composer; that he had been selected by the late Lord Byron to compose the music of the "Hebrew Melodies," and was the author of a work called, The History and Theory of Music, which had been, by permission, dedicated to his present Majesty, was no less judge than a patron of musical talents. The Learned Sergeant then proceeded to state the circumstances which led to Mr. Nathan's undertaking the composition of the music of the Illustrious Stranger. After the piece had been produced, it was found that some additional music would be necessary, and the secretary of Mr. Price addressed a letter to Mr. Nathan, stating this fact, and describing tbe nature of the addition required. [Here Mr. Sergeant Jones read tbe following instructions, the reading of which produced loud laughter in tbe Court.]

"ACT 2., SCENE 1. - Solemn music for marriage ceremony - Goes into a bustle - (Princess fainting.)

"SCENE LAST. - March in a soft strain, end in a crash - soft sound of wind instruments (celestial) to raise the Princess from the tomb - then rush into bold music."

The Learned Sergeant said that it was evident from these instructions what opinion Mr. Price entertained of the extent and variety of Mr. Nathan's abilities.

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE. - Brother Jones, they seem to have attributed to him the power of raising the dead.

The Learned SERGEANT proceeded to detail other facts, and called

James Mapleson, who deposed that he was copyist at Drury-lane Theatre, and that by Mr. Price's directions he had written to Mr. Nathan to expedite the completion of the music.

Mr. Wallack, the Stage-manager, was next called, but did not answer. He was then called upon his subpoena, but did not appear.

Andrew Smith, musical composer, said that Mr. Nathan had been known to the musical world for a dozen years. The witness thought that two or three hundred pounds would be reasonable compensation for the labour of composing the music of the Illustrious Stranger.

Henry R. Bishop was then called. He said that he had never read or seen any of the music of the Illustrious Stranger. The score was then put into his hands, and he ran with great rapidity over it, and said that it would probably occupy two or three months in composing, and was worth about 250l., exclusive of the purchase money of the copyright, which would belong to the author.

Mr. Sergeant WILDE, for the defendant, said that this was a case of express contract, and that no contract whatever had been proved. The fact was, that Mr. Nathan had, like other musical composers, asked it as a favour that he should be allowed to compose the music of the piece in question, and had relied for remuneration upon the sale of the copyright of the whole or the separate parts, if the piece were successful. The Learned Sergeant then called some witnesses, who proved that such was the custom at the great theatres.

Mr. Kenny deposed that he was the author of the piece called Sweethearts and Wives, of which the music had been composed by Mr. Nathan, and for which Mr. Nathan had not received any compensation whatever. He also said that he was the author of the piece which was the subject of the action, and that Mr. Nathan had undertaken the composition of the music of that piece without any promise of payment by Mr. Price, or any hope of compensation entertained by Mr. Nathan himself.

Mr. Sergeant Jones replied for the plaintiff, and contended that the hope of notoriety to be obtained by the success of a piece at Drury-Lane could never have been the sole inducement to a man of Mr. Nathan's reputation to devote himself for two months to the composition of an Opera.

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE then charged the Jury, who, after very short consultation, found for the defendant.

"THEATRICAL MUSIC", The annual register 2 (June 1828), 70 

Nathan v. Price. - The plaintiff in this case was a celebrated musical composer, and the object of the action was to recover a compensation from the defendant, the patentee of Drury-lane Theatre, for certain musical compositions which the plaintiff had furnished in the opera of "The Illustrious Stranger." It was proved that instructions had been given by the defendant to the plaintiff, to compose the music, that he had accordingly done so, and that it had been performed with great success for many nights. Messrs. Bishop and Smith, composers of music, said, that a fair remuneration to the plaintiff for such music, would not be less than from 200l. to 300l., exclusive of the sale of the copyright. For the defendant, it was contended, that it was not usual for the patentees of the large theatres to pay any thing to composers for the music furnished by them, when they reserved to themselves the sale of the copyright. The performance of their music at the theatres was of infinite advantage to them, inasmuch as that it gave a popularity to their pieces, which could not otherwise be obtained. In support of this case, Mr. Kenny, the author of Paul Pry, The Illustrious Stranger, and several other dramatic works, was called, and his evidence, with that of Mr. T. P. Cooke, fully bore out the statement, that no compensation was made by the proprietors of the larger theatres, where the sale of the copyright was reserved to the composer. Upon the strength of this evidence, the jury, after some hesitation, found for the defendant.


The king's fool 1833

The king's fool; or, The old man's curse; an historic play in three acts (J. G. Milligan); FP: London, Royal Victoria Theatre, 17 July 1833


Word book:

The king's fool; or, The old man's curse, an historic play in three acts by J. G. Milligan . . . the music by MM. Nathan and Wade

(London: John Miller, 1833) (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The national standard, of literature, science, music 36/2 (31 August 1833), 139, 156 

No. 1. The Spur of the Soldier is Beauty.
No. 2. A Pretty Bird was moping.
No. 3. Drink! and a Fig for Sorrow!
"Mr. Nathan has been very successful in setting the poetry from Dr. Millingen's new drama. The first of the three songs (the Spur of the Soldier,) is a very elegant and sprightly composition, and reflects infinite credit upon him as a composer: indeed, we have not heard anything for some time past which has afforded us more real pleasure than this song. The second we do not think quite so interesting, but it will nevertheless please from from its simple elegance. The third, we need scarcely say, is a bold spirited effusion, and well worthy the reputation it will doubtless acquire. Altogether, we think these three songs well calculated to add another sprig or two to Mr. Nathan's already well-earned laurels." - Vide Musical Review.
London: George and Manby, 85, Fleet street; Where may be had the following highly successful Songs:
Bound where thou wilt, my Barb! and
She sought that Grave to weep. The Poetry by Lord Byron, the Music composed by J. Nathan.

"TO CORRESPONDENTS", South Eastern Gazette (4 February 1834), 4

We have received . . . Mr. Nathan's Songs in Mr. Milteagen's new piece, "The King's Fool" and some other works, which shall all noticed in our next . . .

The play later produced in Sydney as "Triboulet, or the King's Jester", 29 May 1844

* * *


Hebrew melodies 1815-19

A selection of Hebrew melodies, with symphonies and accompaniments, by Mr. Braham and Mr. Nathan, the poetry expressly written for the work, by the Right Hon. Lord Byron

(London, 1815-19)

"HEBREW MELODIES", Morning Post [London] (22 April 1815), 3

The masterly hand of Braham is visible throughout these compositions; to him it will be attributed that the sacred Songs of the Jews, and the peculiar character of their harmony, will have been rescued from obscurity, and preserved from the oblivion to which they were hastening. Like Orpheus of old, Braham's music is "The magic of sweet sounds," and a divine spirit breathes ever through his numbers.

Hebrew melodies 1827-29

A selection of Hebrew melodies, ancient and modern, newly arranged, harmonized, corrected and revised with appropriate symphonies & accompaniments by I. Nathan; the poetry written expressly for the work by Lord Byron

(London: J. Fentum for the Proprietor, [1827-29]) 

Copy at the National Library of Australia (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

* * *


This rose to calm my brother's care, the words taken from the celebrated poem of The bride of Abydos, the music composed and arranged for the pianoforte, by I. Nathan, and most respectfully dedicated to Lord Byron

(London: Falkener's, [1813])

Copy at the British Library (DIGITISED)

* * *


Glenarvon 1816

[Caroline Lamb] Glenarvon: in three volumes, volume 2

(London: Printed for Henry Colburn, 1816) 

Waters of Elle, thy limpid streams are flowing . . ., 169 

"Farewell, ah, sigh not thus . . .", 191-92 and sheet with music after 192 

Ada Reis 1824

[Caroline Lamb, with music by Isaac Nathan], Ada Reis, a tale

(London: J. Murray, 1824), 3 volumes 

Copy at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library (VOLUME 1 DIGITISED F/C) (VOLUME 2 DIGITISED F/C) (VOLUME 3 DIGITISED F/C)

Vol. 2 has 4 pages of music, after page 120, numbered *119-*122:

"Weep for what thou hast lost, love; the music composed expressly by Mr. Nathan" (DIGITISED)

Other musical extracts:

Sir Henry de Vaux, song, the words from Ada Reis, the music by I. Nathan

London : H. Falkner, [1824]) (DIGITISED)




Works (Australia)

KEY: Extant works (published or MS); Lost works (or no copy yet identified)


Lectures 1846

The first, second, and third of a series of lectures on the theory and practice of music, delivered at the Sydney College, New South Wales, giving an historical account of the origin, rise, and progress of the science, from the earliest period up to the present time, with progressive exercises for improvement on the piano-forte, harmony, and modulation; and for the cultivation of the human voice, from the first rudiments to the most refined and elaborate details of a perfect mastery of the art: forming a work of instruction for the pupil, and a work of reference for the master, by I. Nathan, musical historian and theorist to his late reverend majesty, George IV., professor of singing and composer to her late royal highness, the princess Charlotte of Wales, author of the "Hebrew Melodies," the "Musurgia Vocalis," &c.

(Sydney: W. Ford; London: Cramer, Addison & Beale, 1846)

Copy at National Library of Australia (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Southern Euphrosyne 1848-49

The southern Euphrosyne and Australian miscellany, containing oriental moral tales, original anecdote, poetry and music, an historical sketch with examples of the native aboriginal melodies put into modern rhythm and harmonized as solos, quartettes &c., together with several other original local pieces, arranged to a piano-forte accompaniment by the editor and sole proprietor I. Nathan

(Sydney: [Nathan]; London: Whittaker & Co., [1848-49]) 

Copy at National Library of Australia (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Copy at Bodleian Library, Oxford (DIGITISED)

Copy at State Library of New South Wales, with a letter of introduction by Isaac Nathan to Stuart Donaldson inserted, dated 29 July 1857, MLMSS 6227 (olim ML QA828/4A1, bequeathed by D. S. Mitchell, 1907) 

For fuller documentation, see main checklist entry: (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Cyclopaedia vocalis (first advertised 6 November 1860, see in documentation above)

A revised compilation of Musurgia vocalis, and the 1846 Lectures, it was never published, Orchard 1952 (90) notwithstanding


Merry freaks in troublous times (1843)

Opera in 2 acts; words: Charles Nagel; no complete staged performance; first noticed: March 1843; publ: after May 1851 (vocal score) 

See also 1 number ("God save the queen", Act 1 scene 10) published separately in Lectures (1846) above, 2 songs separately as listed below (1845); and 1 song adapted as Loyalty (1850) below

The queen's love ("Sir Wilfred") (1845)

1 song "Sir Wilfred"; words; David Burn; FP: 29 September 1845; publ: November 1845 (voice and piano)

Don John of Austria (1847)

Opera in 3 acts; words: Jacob Levi Montefiore (after Casimir Delavigne); composer's unpublished MS vocal score complete (digitised) 

See also the overture and 4 songs published in The southern Euhrosyne (1849), above, and separately as listed below (1848-49)



Long live Victoria (1841)

"National anthem"; words: W. A. Duncan; FP: 30 June 1841; publ. June 1841 (solo voice, chorus SSATB, piano); new ed. November 1861 (orchestral accompaniments); full details in checklist entry: 

The Aboriginal mother (1841)

Song; words: E. H. Dunlop; FP: 27 October 1841; publ: ? January 1842 (voice and piano) 

The eagle chief (1842)

Song; words: E. H. Dunlop; pub: April 1842 (voice and piano); FP: 27 May 1842 

Koorinda braia (1842)

Song and chorus; words and melody: Indigenous (Monaro district); FP: 27 May 1842; publ: July 1842 (solo voice, chorus SSTTB) 

Mable Macmahon (1842)

Song; words: E. H. Dunlop; FP: 27 May 1842; publ: July 1842 (voice and piano) 

Star of the south (1842)

Song; words: E. H. Dunlop; publ: August 1842 (voice and piano); "Australian melodies no. 5" 

Australia the wide and the free! (1842)

Song ("A national song"); words: W. A. Duncan; FP: 21 December 1842; publ: December 1842 (voice and piano) 

The Aboriginal father (1843)

Song; words and melody: Indigenous (Monaro), arr. Nathan, trans. E. H. Dunlop; publ: January 1843 (voice and piano) 

Wargoonda minyarrah (1844)

Song and chorus; words and melody: Indigenous (Wellington Valley); FP: 11 July 1844; publ. 1849 (solo voice, chorus SSTB, piano; in The southern Euphrosyne)

A good black gin (1845)


Song; words: J. W. Dent; publ: February 1845 (voice and piano) 

Humbug (1845)

Glee; publ: March 1845 (voices TTB, piano): FP: June 1845 

Nathan reconstructed it from memory of the lost music of 'Tis true that all the world must live (1841) below

2 songs from Merry freaks in troublous times; published separately (July 1845)

Sweet smiles and bright eyes (voice and piano)

Oh, for the olden time (voice and piano) 

Leichhardt's grave (1845)

Song; words: Robert Lynd; publ: September 1845 (voice and piano); FP: 15 September 1845 

Lady O'Connell's waltz (Stubbs; arr. Nathan) (1845)

Publ. September 1845 (piano solo) 

The lord's prayer (1845)

Liturgical church setting; publ: October 1845 (1 or 4 voices and organ) 

The currency lasses (1846)

Song; words: "*********** Esq" (? "Currencylad"); publ. January 1846 (voice and piano) 

Overture and 4 songs from Don John of Austria; published separately (1848-49)

Overture (piano)

The visions of youth (voice and piano)

I dare not say how much I love (voice and piano)

Canst thou bid the hand its cunning forget (Agnes)

I'll go to sleep (Don Quixado) 

Leichhardt's return (1846)

Song; words: E. K. Silvester; publ. June 1846 (voice and piano) 

Loyalty (1850)

Song; words and music adapted from chorus (act 2 scene 1) in Merry freaks in troublous times; publ. October 1850 (chorus TTTB and piano) 

The meeting of the east and west (? c. 1850)

Song; words: Thomas Livingstone Mitchell; lithographed: ? (voice and piano) 

Lungi dal caro bene (Sarti, arr. Nathan) (1852)

Song (cavatina); FP: ? 1851/52; publ: March 1852 (soprano voice, piano) 

Long live our gracious queen (? c.1852-53)

Song; words: [anonymous]; publ: ? 1852-53, before June 1853 (voice and piano) 

The names of Christ (? 1853)

Sacred song; words: James B. Laughton; publ: by April 1853 (chorus SSTTBB and piano or organ) 

Angels ever bright and fair (Handel; arr. Nathan) (? 1853)

Song; publ: by April 1853 (voice and piano) 

Circumstance (1861)

Song; words: Alfred Tennyson; publ: May 1861 (voice and piano); also 2nd edition

The day dream (1861)

Song; words: Alfred Tennyson; publ: May 1861 (voice and piano)

The white owl (1861)

Song; words: Alfred Tennyson; publ: May 1861 (voice and piano) 

The winged fate (1861)

Song; words: ?; FP: 30 December 1861; publ: February 1862 (voice and piano) 

God bless you (1862)

Song; words: Edward Reeve; publ: August 1862 (voice and piano) 

The origin of freedom (1863)

Song; words: Eliza Nathan; publ: after August 1863 (voice and piano)



See also Mackerras 1963, The Hebrew melodist, 73:

Mrs. Stephen Nathan, widow of one of Isaac's grandsons, told the present writer that her husband's father, Alfred Nathan, who of course remembered his father's death, had said that his widow Henrietta had burnt all his music, declaring it to be "rubbish" and worth nothing. Poor Henrietta, she had had bitter experience of how little profit his compositions had brought him in Australia! . . .

A new overture, composed for the occasion (1841)

Orchestral; FP: 30 June 1841

Go to checklist entry: 

An extemporaneous voluntary (1841)

Organ solo; FP: 18 July 1841 

'Tis true that all the world must live (1841)

"Australian glee" (? voices and piano); FP: 15 September 1841 

Nathan later reconstructed the music from memory as Humbug (1845) above, in which form it survives

Drink, drink, and a fig for all sorrow (1833/1841)

Song, in The king's fool (1833), with newly arranged chorus (glee); FP: 27 October 1841 

An extemporaneous capriccio (1842)

Piano solo; "modulating in the Major and Minor modes through thirty different keys" [sic]; FP: 27 May 1842 

Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord (1844)

A new hallelujah chorus (1844)

Liturgical synagogue settings (voices, ? harmonium); FP: 2 April 1844

Alice Brand (Callcott; arr. Nathan, glee and chorus for 3 voices) (1845)

Here in cool grot (Mornington; arr. Nathan, with full orchestral accompaniments) (1845) 

Overture (1859)

Overture (Gluck; arr. Nathan) (1859)

? Orchestral; performance: 17 March 1859



Song of the Aborigines (1844)


Song; words: Samuel Prout Hill; to Nathan's air - Tambourgi; words FP: 23 April 1844 

Archival collections

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop 1866

"The Vase, comprising songs for music and poems by Eliza Hamilton Dunlop", 1814-1866; State Library of New South Wales, B 1541 (CY 1238, frames 1-121) 

Marks 1917

Collection of letters to Percy J. Marks from Mr. Israel Solomons and Mrs. Phillips both of London and extracts of newspaper articles, dated 1854-1917 

Isaac Nathan (McCoy et al.) 1919

Isaac Nathan - Sheet music, ca. 1820-1862; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 5937 

1. Isaac Nathan - sheet music published in London, ca.1820-ca.1841 

2. Isaac Nathan - sheet music published in Sydney, 1842-1862 

Foulis c.1954

Lilian Foulis - collection of music by Isaac Nathan and others, with biographical and pictorial material relating to Isaac Nathan, 1820-ca.1954; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 6152 / PXA 700

1. Lilian Foulis - collection of music by Isaac Nathan and others, ca.1824-1904 

2. Lilian Foulis - papers relating to Isaac Nathan and Nathan family history, 1820-ca.1954 

3. Lilian Foulis - photographic copies of portraits of Isaac Nathan 

Catherine Mackerras 1971

Catherine Mackerras - papers, 1889-1971; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 3539

Mackerras family 1988

Mackerras family papers, 1900-1988; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 5682; Box 82 / Item [26] 

Charles Venour Nathan 1992

C. V. Nathan - papers, including collection of printed music by Isaac Nathan, manuscript volume of medical notes by Dr Irving, and portrait of Charles Nathan, ca.1810-1991; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 6334 

1. Collection of printed music and lectures by Isaac Nathan, ca.1810-1862; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 6334/1 

2. Papers and printed items, mainly relating to Isaac Nathan, 1811-1991 

William J. Palmer (Neylon) 1994

William J. Palmer - Bound collection of sheet music by Isaac Nathan and others, ca.1820-ca.1854; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 6132 

Alfred Nathan (Weeden) 1995

Alfred Nathan - Collection of manuscript and printed music by Isaac Nathan and others, with associated realia, ca.1816-ca.1870; State Library of New South Wales, 120008 

Series 01: Alfred Nathan - music manuscript by Isaac Nathan, ca.1843 

Series 02: Alfred Nathan - sheet music by Isaac Nathan published in Sydney, 1842-1864 

Series 03: Alfred Nathan - sheet music by Isaac Nathan and others published in London, ca.1820-ca.1870 

Series 04: Alfred Nathan - Indian dagger and photoprints of candlesticks presented to Isaac Nathan by Lord Byron, probably in 1816 

Pont 1999

Graham Pont papers, 1956-1999; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 9070, box 89 (restricted) 

Isaac Nathan (Spode) 2010

Bound collection of sheet music by Isaac Nathan and others, ca.1820-ca.1850; State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 8032 

Bibliography and resources

Print and online

DNB (Legge) 1894

"R. H. L." [Robin Humphrey Legge], Dictionary of national biography 40 (1894) 121-23,_Isaac_(DNB00) 

Cohen 1895

Francis L. Cohen, "Hebrew melody in the concert room", Transactions (Jewish Historical Society of England) 2 (1894-95), 7-13 

Lipkind 1906

Goodman Lipkind, "NATHAN, BARNETT (known as Baron Nathan)", Jewish encyclopedia (1906) 

English dramatic and musical entrepreneur; born in 1793; died in London Dec. 6, 1856. Nathan was also a teacher of dancing from 1844 till his death. He acted for many years as master of the ceremonies and managing director at Rosherville Gardens, near Gravesend, and was a well-known personality. On his benefit night he used to perform the feat of dancing blindfold the egg-hornpipe. Bibliography: Jew. Chron. Jan. 23, 1857.

Cohen 1906

Francis L. Cohen, "Nathan, Isaac", Jewish encyclopedia (1906) 

Bertie 1922

Charles H. Bertie, Isaac Nathan, Australia's first composer; a lecture delivered at the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney . . . with a foreword by Henri Verbrugghen, director of the Conservatorium (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1922) (DIGITISED)

"PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED", Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (9 March 1922), 6 

"ISAAC NATHAN, AUSTRALIA'S FIRST MUSICIAN", The Hebrew Standard of Australasia (10 June 1922), 10

AusEnyc 1926

J. V. C.-B., "Nathan, Isaac", in Arthur Wilberforce Jose and Herbert James Carter (eds) with the collaboration of T. G. Tucker, The Australian encyclopaedia, vol. 2 Mab-Z (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1926), 174 

NATHAN, Isaac (1790-1864), born at Canterbury in Kent, England, in 1790; studied Hebrew, German, and Chaldean at Cambridge under professor Lyon as a preparation for Jewish priesthood. In his leisure he practised the violin, and showed so great an aptitude for music that his parents allowed him to pursue the study of it under Domenico Corri, an Italian composer and teacher. After eight months he published his first song, 'Infant Love.' About 1813 Douglas Kinnaird introduced him to Lord Byron, who wrote his 'Hebrew Melodies' for Nathan to set to music. The first edition, which appeared in 1815, included several of the favourite airs sung in Jewish religious ceremonies. His intimacy with Lord Byron was interrupted only by the poet's death. For a later edition the 'Melodies' were revised in collaboration with Braham. His debts forced him to leave London for the west of England and Wales, but in 1816 he was presuaded to return and retrieve his fortune on the stage. He appeared at Covent Garden as Henry Bertram in Bishop's opera 'Guy Mannering,' but his voice was too weak and its compass too small. In 1818 he published a song, 'God Save the Regent,' following it up with a number of operas, pantomimes, and melodramas, some of which were staged at Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres. In 1823 he published Musingia [sic] Vocalis, an Essay on the History and Theory of Music, which he dedicated to George IV - at this time he was the musical librarian to that King, and instructor to the Princess Charlotte.

On 7 July 1823 he produced at the Haymarket theatre a musical comedy, Sweethearts and Wives, which contained two of his most popular songs, 'Why are you wandering here?' and 'I'll not be a maiden forsaken.' At the same theatre on 10 August 1824 a comin opera, The Alcaid, or the Secrets of Office, was successfully staged, and in October 1827, a musical farce, The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried.

In the musical catalogue of the British Museum no fewer than 12 pages are occupied by his musical compositions and literary works. His best known literary works are Fugitive Pieces and Reminiscences of Lord Byron (1829), and The Life of Madame Mailbran de Beriot (1836). In 1841, failing to obtain £2000 from the government (on account, he asserted, of work done and money expended in the service of the Crown), he migrated to Australia, where he performed a signal service in developing musical talent and improving music in the churches and choral societies. In 1841 he gave a sacred concert (which included some of his own compositions and works of Handel, Mozart, and Haydn) in St. Mary's cathedral at Sydney; this realized a large sum for the church. On 27 May 1842 he gave a madrigal concert in the hall of what is now the Sydney grammar school. In 1846 he published simultaneously in Sydney and London his Southern Euphrosyne and Australian Miscellany, which included examples of aboriginal melodies put into modern rhythm and harmonized as solos, quartets, etc. He also delivered many lectures on music; three given at the Sydney College were published in 1846. On 3 May 1847 Nathan produced at the Victoria Theatre, Sydney, his Don Juan [sic] of Austria, the first opera written, composed, and produced in Australia. On 15 January 1864 he was killed while alighting from the old Pitt-street horse0-tramway. See Bertie's Isaac Nathan (Sydney, 1922) - J.V.C.-B.

Rubens 1933

Arthur Rubens, "ISAAC NATHAN: CARICATURES", Notes and queries (15 April 1933), 236

Isaac Nathan, Australia's first composer, friend of Lord Byron, is the subject of two caricatures, both dated 1820, one entitled "David and Bathseba," and the other "The Black Joke, or the Jew Harper and demi-rep Countess." Can any readers supply the explanation to these caricatures? In 1829 Nathan fought a duel with Mr. P. Lepiper as the result of "some strong personal allusion allusion made on a lady of high rank and character" (Standard, Jan. 31, 1829), and in 1835 he was summoned for assaulting Lord Langford (Times, Oct. 28, 1835).

The Black Joke!! or, the Jew Harper and Demi-rep Countess, alias the Amorous Chambermaid, in her Cabin, in board the Polacre. Published September, 1820, by John Fairburn, Broadway, Ludgate Hill; probably not, as formerly believed, a representation of Nathan and Lady Langford, but to "Countess Colombiere", a Swiss chambermaid to Queen Caroline, and a wandering musician, see: 

Philips 1940

Olga Somech Philips, Isaac Nathan: friend of Byron (London: Minerva Publishing, 1940) 

[Review]: "WANDERING JEW", The Sydney Morning Herald (18 January 1941), 8 

Dibdin 1941

Edward Rimbault Dibdin, "Isaac Nathan", Music and letters 22 (1941), 75–80 (PAYWALL)

DAB (Serle) 1949

"NATHAN, ISAAC", in Percival Searle (ed.) Dictionary of Australian biography (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1949); modern online edition, Project Gutenberg Australia 

Orchard 1952

W. Arundel Orchard, Music in Australia: more than 150 years of development (Melbourne: Georgian House, 1952), 7, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34, 51, 91, 121, 168, 213-4 (DIGITISED)

[90] . . . In every known instance, all music composed in Australia during the nineteenth century was written by musicians who came to this country and became residents for a time. There is little or no evidence of Australian-born composers before the beginning of the present century; therefore it will be right to begin with the earlier group who came here to remain.

An inspection of several of the works of that period discloses nothing of great merit, yet for historical reasons they are mentioned here.

The first of whom there is any record is John Phillip Deane . . . his contemporary in the 1830's, Vincent Wallace, penned violin fantasias . . . 

[91] . . . The next in order was Isaac Nathan, mentioned in the earlier pages of this book. He arrived in Australia in his fifty-first year and was already a London composer of some considerable experience. Therefore the title of "Australia s First Composer", given to him by his biographer Mr. Charles H. Bertie in his excellent brochure Isaac Nathan (Angus & Robertson), is a little misleading. Although during the remaining years of his life, spent in Sydney, Nathan wrote and produced his operas Don John of Austria and Merry Freaks, besides several lesser compositions, most of his creative work appears to have been done before his arrival in Australia. This included at least three major works, two of which were performed at The Haymarket Theatre and a third at Drury Lane. Besides these he had composed and published his Hebrew Melodies, a volume of thirty-six songs, mostly settings of poems by Lord Byron, with whom Nathan appears to have been closely associated. The composer's Musurgia Vocalis, an essay on the History and Theory of Music and the Management of the Human Voice, was a London publication, his later treatise The Cyclopaedia Vocalis being published in Sydney, where he also published his arrangement of several Australian Aboriginal Melodies. His choral song, Star of the South, to words by Mrs. Dunlop and inscribed to His Honor Mr. La Trobe, and his song - with chorus - Long Live Victoria, to words by W. A. Duncan and dedicated to His Excellency Sir George Gipps, were sung by Mrs. Bushelle (sister of Vincent Wallace). Both songs were published, the first by Thomas Liley, of Brougham Place, and the second one by F. Ellard, of George Street, formerly of Hunter Street, Sydney.

From all this it is evident that Nathan was the first composer of importance to become resident in Australia, though he could not be regarded as an Australian composer any more than Charles Horsley the composer-pianist, a near-contemporary of Nathan and a far abler musician . . .

Hall 1952

James Lincoln Hall, "A history of music in Australia . . . [nos. 15, some mentions 17-26]" (1952-54), The canon: Australian journal of music

Especially, ". . . 15: Early period - New South Wales, 1841: Isaac Nathan - 'Australia's first composer'", 5/8 (March 1952), 361-64

Slater 1952

Joseph Slater, "Byron's Hebrew Melodies", Studies in philology 49/1 (January 1952), 75-94 (PAYWALL)

Kenny 1957

John Kenny, "Composer And His Secret Service", The Sydney Morning Herald (5 January 1957), 8

AusEnyc 1958

The Australian encyclopaedia, volume 6 Marsupials to Parliament houses [2nd ed., 1958] (digitised US edition: [East Lansing]: University of Michigan Press, [1958]), 243-44;view=1up;seq=287 

NATHAN, Isaac (1790-1864), musician, was born at Canterbury, England, of Polish-Jewish parents. He was sent to Cambridge University to prepare for the Jewish ministry, but his gift for music was so marked that his parents allowed him to change his career and study under Domenico Corri, a well-known musician of the time. He became friendly with Lord Byron and set his "Hebrew Melodies" to music. He was also a member of the eccentric circle which surrounded Lady Caroline Lamb, wife of Lord Melbourne. In 1823 Nathan's Musurgia Vocalis, an Essay on the History and Theory of Music and . . . the Management of the Human Voice, was published and he was appointed musical librarian to George IV and instructor to Princess Charlotte. In the same year his musical comedy, Sweethearts and Wives, was played at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. A comic opera, The Alcaid, was performed the next year and in 1827 an operatic farce, The Illustrious Stranger, was produced at Drury Lane. Fugitive Pieces and Reminiscences of Lord Byron, which Nathan edited, appeared in 1829. In 1837 Nathan did some work of a secret nature for William IV, but the King died later in the same year and Nathan could not obtain payment, even though he repeatedly interviewed and petitioned Lord Melbourne on the subject. As he had a large family to support and his financial position was precarious, Nathan decided to emigrate to Australia. After a brief stay in Melbourne, he arrived in Sydney in April 1841 and immediately gained a reputation as a musician. He was indefatigable in developing musical talent and in improving music in churches and choral societies. Within a month of his arrival he was forming plans for the opening of an academy of music. In June 1841 Nathan directed what he called a "Grand Oratorio" at the opening of the new organ at St. Mary's Cathedral, of which he was the organist. In October of the same year two of his compositions were performed at a concert; these were "The Aboriginal Mother", probably his first Australian composition, and an Australian anthem entitled "Long Live Victoria", to words by W. A. Duncan (q.v.). Six months later his "Eagle Chief" was acclaimed in the Press as "the first concerted musical production of Australia". A collection of Nathan's Australian and aboriginal melodies was published in 1842, when he also issued a prospectus for an Australian Musical Academy. In 1843 Nathan produced his own light opera, Merry Freaks, with success, and in May 1847 his Don John of Austria, the first opera to be written, composed and produced in Australia, was performed at the Victoria Theatre, Sydney. In 1846 he published The First, Second and Third of a Series of Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Music and, probably in 1849, The Southern Euphrosyne and Australian Miscellany; the latter contained some aboriginal songs put into modern rhythm and harmonized. In 1845 he set to music some verses written by Robert Lynd (q.v.) in memory of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, then believed to be missing. Nathan was killed in a vehicular accident in a Sydney street on 15th January 1864. He was twice married, to Elizabeth Rosetta Worthington in 1812 and to Henrietta Buckley in 1826. He was survived by sons and daughters.

One of his sons, Charles Nathan (1816-72), was a well-known Sydney surgeon. Trained at Westminster Hospital, London, he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1837 and in 1857 was honoured with an honorary fellowship "for the excellence of his work". He commenced to practise in Sydney in 1842 and during the next 30 years attained great eminence in his profession. He was one of the first to use ether as an anaesthetic in Australia. Charles Nathan became one of the first surgeons to the Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary (later the Sydney Hospital) in 1845 and retained his connection with it until his death. He was also consulting surgeon to St. Vincent's Hospital and honorary surgeon to the Sydney Female Refuge. He was a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney, a Fellow of St. Paul's College, and an examiner in medicine at the university. He was a connoisseur of art, a fine musician, and a brilliant conversationalist. He died on 20th September 1872. There is a tablet to his memory in St James' Church, Sydney, of which he was a warden.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. H. Bertie, Isaac Nathan, Australia's First Composer (1922); O. S. Phillips, Isaac Nathan, Friend of Byron (1940). (See also MUSIC.)

Mackerras 1963

Catherine Mackerras, The Hebrew melodist: a life of Isaac Nathan (Sydney: Currawong, 1963) 

Covell 1967

Roger Covell, Australia's music, themes of a new society (Melbourne: Sun Books, 1967), 13-15, 59-60, 68-69, 293 and 298-99 (notes), 304 (note 235), 317 and 325 (music examples) 

Ashton 1972

Thomas L. Ashton, Byron's Hebrew melodies (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972) (PREVIEW)

Ashton 1972a

Thomas L. Ashton, "Byronic lyrics for David's harp: The Hebrew melodies", Studies in English literature, 1500-1900 12/4 (nineteenth century) (Autumn 1972), 665-81 

ADB (Mackerras) 1974 (Isaac)

Catherine Mackerras, "Nathan, Isaac (1790-1864)", Australian dictionary of biography 5 (1974) 

ADB (Mackerras) 1974 (Charles)

Catherine Mackerras, "Nathan, Charles (1816-1872)", Australian dictionary of biography 5 (1974)

Wood 1979

Elizabeth Wood, Australian opera, 1842-1970: a history of Australian opera with descriptive catalogues (Ph.D thesis, University of Adelaide, 1979), 71-83 (DIGITISED)

Burwick and Douglass 1988

Frederick Burwick and Paul Douglass (eds), A selection of Hebrew melodies, ancient and modern, by Isaac Nathan; and Lord Byron (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1988) 

Rushworth 1988

Graeme D. Rushworth, Historic organs of New South Wales: the instruments, their makers and players 1791-1940 (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1988), 368-69, 460 (endnotes) 

Rosen 1990

Carole Rosen, "Lord Byron's Hebrew melodies: a curious episode reconsidered - a review essay" [review of Burwick and Douglass], Musica Judaica 11/1 (5750/1989-90), 86-92 (PAYWALL)

Weinberg 1996

Barry Weinberg, "Aspects of Jewish contributions to musical life in Britain, 1770-1820", Jewish historical studies, 34 (1994-96), 225-36 (PAYWALL)

NG2 (Wood) 2001

Elizabeth Wood, "Nathan, Isaac", New Grove 2 / Oxford music online (2001) 

Wells-Green 2005

James Harold Wells-Green, Contrivance, artifice, and art: satire and parody in the novels of Patrick White (Ph.D thesis, University of Canberra, 2005), especially 65-69 

On White's constructing the characater in Voss of Dr. Topp, from accounts of Stephen Hale Marsh and Isaac Nathan

Ben-Merre 2006

David Ben-Merre, "Reading Hebrew melodies", Shofar 24/2 (special issue: The cultural and historical stabilities and instabilities of Jewish orientalism) (Winter 2006), 11-32 (PAYWALL)

Spector 2008

Sheila A. Spector, "The liturgical context of the Byron-Nathan "Hebrew melodies", Studies in romanticism 47/3 (Fall, 2008), 393-412 (PAYWALL)

Pont 2010

Graham Pont, "Isaac Nathan's songs in Glenarvon and Ada Reis: leaves from a secret history"

Journal of the Australian Jewish Historical Society 19/4 (June 2010), 26-42 

Conway 2011

David Conway, Jewry in music: entry to the profession from the enlightenment to Richard Wagner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 91-100 (PREVIEW)

Skinner 2011

Skinner 2011, First national music, especially 167-237 (DIGITISED)

Skinner 2011a

Graeme Skinner,

"Australian composers and arrangers of early colonial synagogue music: new light on Isaac Nathan, James Henri Anderson, Joseph Reichenberg, and Herman Hoelzel"

The Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal 20/2 (June 2011), 193-214

Skinner 2017

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Recovering musical data from colonial era transcriptions of Indigenous songs: some practical considerations", in Jim Wafer and Myfanwy Turpin (eds), Recirculating songs: revitalising the singing practices of Indigenous Australia (Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics, 2017), 349-74, especially 369-70 ("And a final word on Isaac Nathan") 


R. H. Legge, revised by David J. Golby, "Nathan, Isaac (1790-1864)", Oxford dictionary of national biography (online) (PAYWALL)  (original 1894 text) (PAYWALL)

"Isaac Nathan", Wikipedia 

"Baron Nathan (1793-1856)", Canterbury Historical & Archaeological Society (CHAS), website 

"Rosherville Gardens", Wikipedia 

"Isaac Nathan (1790-1864)", Canterbury Historical & Archaeological Society (CHAS), website 

Paul Douglass and Frederick Burwick, Romantic-era songs, curated web reasource (2009-current)

Site includes streamed recorded performances of songs

A Selection of Hebrew Melodies, Ancient and Modern, by Isaac Nathan and Lord Byron 

Songs of Lady Caroline Lamb 

NATHAN, Harry Alfred (Harry A. NATHAN)

Professor of music and theory, pianist, organist, lecturer, composer

Born Sydney, NSW, 10 February 1866 (son of Alfred NATHAN, grandson of Isaac NATHAN)
Died Brisbane, QLD, 17 March 1906 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"BIRTHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (15 February 1866), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (7 January 1893), 2

"New Music", Australian Town and Country Journal (16 September 1893), 43

"An Australian Musician", Evening News (16 February 1895), 4

"ELOCUTION AND MUSIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (4 May 1895), 10

"NEW MUSIC", Australian Town and Country Journal (28 December 1895), 27

"WOMAN'S COLUMN", Freeman's Journal (28 December 1895), 10

[News], The North Queensland Register (5 August 1896), 37

Mr. Harry Nathan, from Sydney, late organist and choirmaster at St. Mary's Church, Waverly, arrived on the Towers last night, having secured the appointment as organist to St. Paul's Church, and takes up his duties next Sunday. Mr. Nathan is the grandson of Mr. Isaac Nathan, the well known musician who composed the famous Hebrew melodies, and the popular ballad "Where are you going to my pretty maid,' and was tutor to their majesties George the Fourth, and William the Fourth. Mr. Isaac Nathan left England for New South Wales a little more than sixty years ago, owing to some disagreement with Lord Melbourne. His grandson comes to us with the highest credentials and encomiums, having gained his professorship in the theory of music, piano and organ and voice production in England in 1892. He was accompanist for the Ballad Singers' Club, and the Guildhall School of Music from 1889 to 1891 where he studied. He also composed the well-known waltz "Langreath." Mr. Nathan was for some time tutor at Palings, of Sydney, and now intends to commence business as a professor of music, organ and piano-forte, singing, and voice production.

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (30 March 1906), 4

NATHAN. - March 17, at Brisbane, Harry Alfred Nathan, beloved husband of (Daisy) E. M. Nathan.

Published musical works:

Langreath waltz, by Harry A. Nathan (Sydney: W. H. Paling & Co., [1893])

Violet's musical album . . . no. 2 (Sydney: H. J. Samuell, 1895) [includes Isaac Nathan's song Where are you going, my pretty maid)

To arms! Australians; words by K.S. Dillon; music by Harry A. Nathan (Townsville: McCullagh & Co., 1900)

Manuscript sources:

Materials relating to Waltzing Matilda (1900/1903/1905; words; Banjo Paterson); National Archives of Australia, A1716, 261) (7 pages digitised): music by Harry A. Nathan, composed 1900; copyright 1903.; dated "1905 Aug. 10"

'Waltzing Matilda, words by A. B. Paterson - music by Harry A. Nathan - 1900', manuscript copy of words and score, made by H. A. Nathan, August 1905; State Library of New South Wales, A 3642 

Materials relating to Waltzing Matilda; National Library of Australia, MS 1377 (photograph and photocopies of originals in State Library of New South Wales)

Select bibliography and resources:

Roger Covell, Australia's music, themes of a new society (Melbourne: Sun Books, 1967), 59-60, 298 (note) 

John Manifold, "The long march with Matilda", Australian left review 1/40 (1973), 18-21 

Greg Pemberton, "Waltzing Matilda's origins and chain of ownership murky", Sydney Morning Herald online (14 August 2015) 

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018