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Concert: Salomone Rossi – The Songs of Solomon

November 11, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

| £20


Unique concert at Belsize Square to commemorate composer Salomone Rossi

At Belsize Square, we have heard some of the wonderful music of the Jewish Italian composer, Salamone Rossi, in our services. On 11 November 2023, we will have the opportunity to attend an exclusive concert of Rossi’s liturgical and secular music. The concert will be performed at Belsize Square by the renowned Vache Baroque group of musicians.

Salomone Rossi was born in around 1570 in the northern Italian city of Mantua. At a young age, he displayed a prodigious talent as a violinist, and was hired as a court musician in Mantua. 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.

As a composer, Rossi was ahead of his time. His innovative style of composing for instruments greatly influenced contemporary composers in Mantua and beyond. Uniquely for the time, Rossi wrote a collection of Jewish liturgical music in 1623 called Ha-shirim asher li-Shlomo (The Songs of Solomon). The collection includes settings of psalms, hymns and synagogue music, and is said to be the earliest known published collection of liturgical music in Hebrew.

Rossi’s last published work is dated January 1628. The cause of his death is unknown, but could have been related to the destruction of the ghetto  and severe plague that followed after the Austrian invasion of 1630.

Vache Baroque are thrilled to present a magnificent multi-event project to commemorate the 400th anniversary of The Songs of Solomon in 1623. Vache Baroque are a group of musicians intent on engaging with a younger and more diverse audience to connect them with high-quality Baroque-era music and drama. From fully staged operas to children’s shows, they strive to create dynamic, interactive, and impactful experiences. Since launching in 2020, the company offers young and disadvantaged people opportunities to be creative alongside leading professionals.

As part of the Tsitsit Jewish Fringe Festival, the concert at Belsize Square will include a moving musical programme of sacred vocal pieces by Rossi and his contemporaries from across Europe. The concert will feature joyful prayers, lamenting solo songs, and passionate madrigals that will be sung in Hebrew, Italian, Latin, and English, all accompanied by a chitarrone and Baroque lute. The second half of the concert will kick-off with a Q&A session led by Rossi specialist, award-winning writer, musician and Belsize Park resident, Michelene Wandor.

Joined by award-winning ensemble La Vaghezza, the final concert, A Baroque Hanukkah, will take  place at St John’s Smith Square on Wednesday 13th December. Framing the story of Hanukkah  through Rossi’s The Songs of Solomon, this concert will celebrate 400 years of this ground-breaking publication coupled with works on similar texts by his contemporaries such as Campion, Schütz,  Cavalli, and Purcell. From solo lute songs and captivating improvisation to expansive double-choir  textures, this will be an evening of passionate contrasts.

Artistic Director Jonathan Darbourne comments that “Rossi was a highly-regarded Jewish violinist and composer working alongside Claudio Monteverdi in Mantua. Not only was he the first to compose contemporary-styled pieces to Hebrew texts, he also pioneered the trio sonata genre that was to become à la mode across Europe during the 17th century. The concert will be an evening of passionate contrasts – a truly Baroque storytelling.”



November 11, 2023 7:30 pm
November 11, 2023 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Belsize Square Synagogue