Salomone Rossi, roughly contemporary with Claudio Monteverdi, was a composer active at the musically innovative court of Mantua, where many of the revolutionary developments of the early Baroque period originated. He also happened to be Jewish, and he set some of the psalms, in Hebrew, in contemporary polyphonic style. This has gained him attention in releases devoted to the history of Jewish music, and four of the psalms are included on this release by Israeli group Profeti della Quinta. But the focus is not primarily on Rossi as a Jewish composer, and that's the novel aspect in this release. Instead, the album is devoted mostly to Italian-language madrigals and instrumental music. The program shows Rossi as a more-than-competent follower of Monteverdi. The instrumental pieces are especially accomplished, with particular interest residing in a group of freely composed pieces given the then-slippery title of Sinfonia; others are dances. The madrigals, mostly published between 1600 and 1610, don't reach the heights of those from Monteverdi's later books but contain original ideas; sample the quasi-dramatic Pargoletta, che non sai (track 29) or the affecting Ohimè, se tanto amate (track 25). In the latter work the countertenor of Profeti della Quinta is shaky pitchwise, but generally the blend of the singers is fine, and small-ensemble accompaniment is sparse and smooth. Recommended for those interested in this unique composer and for lovers of the early Baroque in general.
Share this page