Sunday, June 3, 2007

Byron as You've Never Heard Him

Did you know that nearly 30 of Byron's poems were meant not as stand-alone poems, but as song lyrics? According to Paul Douglass of San Jose State University in California, Byron composed around 29 poems as lyrics for music to be composed by Isaac Nathan (1790-1864), reputedly England's first popular Jewish composer. Among the poems, compiled as A Selection of Hebrew Melodies, Ancient and Modern, are She Walks in Beauty Like the Night, The Destruction of Sennacharib, Jephtha's Daughter, The Wild Gazelle, and We Sate Down and Wept.

Some of the Byron-Nathan songs have been recorded, and samples are available on Mr. Douglass's Website, Romantic Era Songs, at www.sjsu.edu/faculty/douglass/music

The same site, by the way, also features selections from Stephen Storace's music for The Haunted Tower (1789).

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