Tuesday 22 August 2023

Vache Baroque's Rossi 400 project

Salamone Rossi (c1570-1630) was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer who worked in Mantua as a colleague of Monteverdi. Rossi was a violinist at the Mantuan court from 1587 to 1628. He probably died when the duchy was invaded by the Austrians when the ruling Gonzaga family was defeated, and the Jewish ghetto in Mantua was destroyed. Rossi was highly regarded by the Mantuan court, so much so that he was excused wearing the yellow badge required of Jews in Mantua. 

Title page of the first edition of Hashirim asher leSholomo (Venice: Pietro e Lorenzo Bragadino, 1623)
Title page of the first edition of Hashirim asher leSholomo
(Venice: Pietro e Lorenzo Bragadino, 1623)
Rossi published significant collections of madrigals and instrumental pieces which deserve to be better known, but if his name is known at all it is because of his Ha-shirim asher li-Shlomo, The Songs of Solomon in 1623 [the name is a deliberate pun]. These set the Hebrew texts of the Song of Solomon in music written in the Baroque style almost entirely unconnected to the Jewish cantorial tradition. The result was something almost unprecedented in terms of the development of synogogal music and to achieve it, Rossi had to use an innovative means of laying out the printed music as Hebrew is read Right to Left, and Western music notation is read Left to Right.

This Autumn, Vache Baroque, music director Jonathan Darbourne, is presenting a project to celebrate the 400 years since Rossi's publication of his ground-breaking  The Songs of Solomon. The project aims to encompass all of Rossi's musical styles, so that two videos have just been released of madrigals by Rossi and by Thomas Weelkes (who championed Rossi's music) in performances that include two BirdGang Ltd dancers, with Movement Director Ukweli Roach. The videos are:

There are a series of intimate evening concerts, presenting a mix of solo and ensemble music by Rossi and his contemporaries at Liberal Jewish Synagogue (9/9/2023), historic hall of The Vache house (4/11/2023) and Belsize Square Synagogue (11/11/2023). The performance at The Vache will be accompanied by a five-course dinner of Jewish-Italian cuisine and the performance at the Belsize Square Synagogue will be presented as part of the 2023 Tsitsit Jewish Fringe Festival.

Then on 13 December 2023, there will be a concert at St John's Smith Square where eight singers from Vache Baroque singers be joined instrumental ensemble La Vaghezza for an evening framing the story of Hanukkah through Rossi’s ‘Songs of Solomon’ psalm settings and compositions using the same texts by contemporaries such as Cavalli, Schütz, and Purcell.

Full details from the Vache Baroque website.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts this month