Front cover image for Salamone Rossi : Jewish musician in late Renaissance Mantua

Salamone Rossi : Jewish musician in late Renaissance Mantua

Salamone Rossi (c.1570-c.1628) occupies a unique place in Renaissance music culture as in music history at large: he was the earliest outstanding Jewish composer to work in the European art music tradition, producing a repertory of over three hundred compositions published and variously republished in thirteen different collections. Last but not least, Rossi carved out his own niche in the history of sacred music by composing the first and only collection of polyphonic settings of Hebrew texts (his 'Songs of Solomon') before the mid-nineteenth century. As a Jewish composer working for the Gonzaga dukes in Mantua, yet remaining faithful to his own religious community, Rossi has a biography fraught with difficult and often exciting questions of a socio-cultural order. How Rossi solved, or appears to have solved, the problem of conflicting interests (secular versus sacred, Christian versus Hebrew, Italian versus Jewish; or within the Jewish sphere, reactionary versus liberal tendencies, halakha versus kabbala, worldliness versus messianism) is a subject worthy of inquiry, not only because we want to know more about Rossi, but also because Rossi can stand as a paradigm for other Jewish figures who moved between, and accommodated to, different cultures in his own and later times
Print Book, English, 1999
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999