More from the NSW State Library collections – diverging from Scottish collections for a day

The day opened with a meeting. Graeme Skinner has been doing some really in-depth work into British music in Australia from the time of the first fleet in 1788. He is very knowledgeable about a lot of the music-making in the country throughout the 19th century and he has put together a colossal, ever expanding open access website that shows the fruits of his labours:

After a detour into Parliament House, it was then another visit to the State Library, where I took a break from my Scottish music explorations and dived into another area of my research interests. I have had a long fascination with the impresario Domenico Corri (1746-1825). He was a teacher, publisher, concert manager and performer both in Edinburgh and later in London. His family were highly influential music-makers in the latter half of the 18th century, particularly in Edinburgh. Isaac Nathan (1790-1864) was apparently one of his students and also had quite a colourful career.

He too had tried to establish himself as a composer and teacher while in Britain, but his efforts did not prove effective. He did have several publications, mostly off the back of his Hebrew Melodies, a setting of Byron poetry. The music is very typical of English publications during the period, with a few Corri style ornaments thrown in!

Once he got to Australia, he seems to have made real efforts to brand himself as the GO TO composer. All of his publications are pro-Australia heavy and he made sure to get his name linked into very special occasions!


I did find a sweet little piece that was a gift for his daughter, Helen Nathan.

isaac nathan australia 2

At the moment, I know very little about this collection and I fear the rest of my time will be spent researching the many other collections that have been brought to my attention. However, I have plenty of pictures and an emerging story that will simmer until the right research project presents itself. Fear not, this is not the last of Isaac Nathan!



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