Shakespeare and Italy: Harran
Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University
Renaissance Music and Italy:
Harrán, Don. Salamone Rossi: Jewish Musician in Late Renaissance Mantua. Oxford Monographs on Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Giaches de Wert, Pallavicino, Monteverdi = “Rossi’s contemporaries at the Mantuan court” (4).
“Where blanks exist, and there are many, the only way to fill them in is by relying on circumstantial evidence and, for all its inadequacy, on imagination, stirred by probability” (12).
1589 acrostic (12).
“For many years of service to his rulers, Rossi was exempted, by decree, from wearing a badge…. In Mantua, after years of laxity in enforcing the requirement to wear the badge, Duke Guglielmo reinstated it in 1577” (25).
“In their pastoral tone, and unaffected simplicity, these works must have struck a resonance with English audiences, used to similar ones by their own madrigalists. It is no wonder that the composer Weeleks reworked six of Rossi’s canonette in his own versions” (41).
“Rossi began in 1589 with a set of canzonette for three voices and ended in 1628 with a set of madrigaletti for mainly / two voices plus continuo” (42-43).
“The first book of five-voice madrigals was popular enough to go through four reprints; the reason may have been its poetry, mainly by Guarini” (45).
“that he wrote over three hundred works, or to be exact, 313, of which we know, plus presumably many more, of which we do not, is remarkable; that 307 of them were published in thirteen separate collections of his own authorship is no less than astounding” (46).
“With but few exceptions, Rossi’s Italian vocal works were published in eight collections, forming, in their bar count, nearly 50 per cent of his repertory” (66).
“Of the 150 Italian lyrics, the majority (95) are assignable to a poet on the basis of one or more literary sources while the remainder (55) are still of uncertain authorship” (70).
“How did Rossi select his poetry? Most of the poets whose works he set were affiliated at one time or another with Mantua, through stays at the / court or commissions for it” (71-72).
Rossi wrote music for theatrical productions at Mantua, as “distinguished from his music for court entertainments, which, though replete with song and dance, lack a dramatic action” (174). But almost nothing survives or is known about this material.