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Word Count: 726
Before I encountered the biography of Salamone Rossi one of Jewish musicians I never knew that there were any Jewish musicians in Late Renaissance so it was pleasing to read the book and learn new facts As I was reading I also discovered that there were some Jewish musicians whom I have heard of but never realized that they were Jewish such as Ernest Bloch Leonard Bernstein and Mahler I was surprised to find that even one of my favorite composers Mendelssohn was Jewish-born but converted his origins because of discrimination against the Jews in Europe There were Jewish musicians before Salamone Rossi but Rossi was the first of them to leave a memorable imprint on European music history as a composer Although not much is known about Rossi as a man Rossi differs from his Jewish ancestor and contemporaries in having a somewhat fragmentary biography in leaving behind thirteen printed collections As a Jewish composer who identified with the community but composed for a largely Christian audience Rossi moved between two audiences who had their own demands and customs For the Christians he performed or composed music through vocal and instrumental chamber music as requested or after having offered his service For the Jews it is less clear what he did However he did prepare The Songs of Solomon meant to demonstrate his commitment to the Hebrew tradition As mentioned above there are still many questions about Rossi as a man Rossi lived and was active in Mantua Rossi might have been born in or around 1570 Similar uncertainty surrounds the time of death Rossi is no longer heard of after 1628 a period of turmoil in Mantuan history and in Mantuan Jewish community in 1630 the ghetto was sacked its residents were expelled p 12 It is known that the discrimination against the Jews did not affect Rossi In fact because of Rossi s dedicated service to his rulers for many
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