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Hebrew Melodies

Item

Title

Hebrew Melodies

Date

14 March 2021
12 October 2021- 31 December 2021

Date Issued

2021

Abstract

"“The Greeks have as small a chance of redemption from the Turks as the Jews have from mankind in general”, wrote Lord Byron, whose genuine interest in what he called “the poetry of politics” –especially in issues concerning minorities and the liberation movements that marked the early Romantic period– is absolutely indisputable, as evidenced by his periodic, though passionate, involvements with matters such as the revolutionary movements of Italy, the political and cultural oppression of Armenia and, of course, his ultimate devotion to the cause of the Greek liberation. Hebrew Melodies, a collection of old as well as newer Jewish tunes published in 1815 by Isaac Nathan –a popular English Jewish musician and generally colourful personality– with Byron’s lyrical contribution as commercial bait, struck a chord with the Romantic fashion for orientalism and the “ethnic” revival of local traditions, eventually becoming one of the poet’s most popular and widespread works, despite the inevitable anti-Semitic criticism. The popularity of the verses (subsequently set to music repeatedly by such figures as Mendelssohn, Schumann and Mussorgsky) did not help rescue Nathan’s original melodies from oblivion; those original compositions are now being revived by the Alternative Stage, with the contribution of some of the most notable Greek recitalists." (From Greek National Opera: https://2021.nationalopera.gr/art-never-ending-revolution)

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Position: 383 (13 views)