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Salamone Rossi

Salamone RossiSALAMONE ROSSI (1570? – 1630), born in Mantua, Italy, was descended from a prominent Jewish family, which had been brought to Rome from Jerusalem by Titus, as captives. For a period of 40 years, from 1587 to 1628, Rossi served as a court musician to the Gonzoga Dukes of Mantua: Gugliemo, Vincenzo and Fernando. During this time, Rossi was a violinist, singer and composer at the ducal courts.

Rossi was prolific as a composer and published 13 volumes of music, consisting of madrigals, sinfonias and sonatas. He also wrote a collection of 33 religious songs to Hebrew texts, consisting of psalms, liturgical poems and prayers. These were published in 1622 under the title Hashirim Asher LâShlomo (The Songs of Solomon). This is the earliest known volume of Jewish harmonized music in existence. It is remarkable that in the bigoted atmosphere of the 16th century, a composer known as “Salamone Rossi, Ebreo (The Hebrew),” could have risen to his important place while yet remaining faithful to the religion of his ancestors.

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