Salamone Rossi or Salomone Rossi (ca. 1570 – 1630) was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer. He was a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance period and early Baroque. As a young man, Rossi acquired a reputation as a talented violinist. He was then hired (in 1587) as a court musician in Mantua, where records of his activities as a violinist survive.
He served at the court of Mantua from 1587 to 1628 as concertmaster where he entertained the ducal family and their highly esteemed guests. The composers Rossi, Monteverdi, Gastoldi, Wert and Viadana provided fashionable music for banquets, wedding feasts, theatre productions and chapel services amongst others. Rossi was so well-thought of at this court that he was excused from wearing the yellow badge that was required of other Jews in Mantua. (An ugly foreshadowing of things to come...)
Rossi probably died either in the invasion of Austrian troops, who defeated the Gonzagas and destroyed the Jewish ghetto in Mantua, or in the subsequent plague which ravaged the area.
He published a collection of Jewish liturgical music, (Ha-shirim asher li-Shlomo, The Songs of Solomon) in 1623. This was written in the Baroque tradition and (almost) entirely unconnected to traditional Jewish cantorial music. This was an unprecedented development in synagogal music. Rossi set many Biblical Hebrew texts to music in their original Hebrew language, which makes him unique among Baroque composers. His vocal music resembles that of Claudio Monteverdi and Luigi Rossi. This work, "Mizmor leDavid. Havu l'Adonai" is transcribed/arranged by Isadore Freed, whose works I have recently uploaded. The work sounds much more "modern," both with the sounds and performance style. It is a solemn and moving work, and bears quite a strong resemblance to "Master Tallis's Testament" by Herbert Howells.
The title page from a collection of Rossi's works as well as a photo of Freed are below.