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  Solomone Rossi Ebreo (1570-1628)
Mantua, Italy
  A prolific composer from a family which traced itself to be among those who were taken as slaves from Jerusalem by the Romans a millennium and a half ago.
In his work as a composer for the Duke of Manta he was a master of the new emerging style and technique of using multiple voices in a composition (polyphony). The theory and practice associated with writing in this style is complex and a challenge to master (counterpoint). It is a "high art”. Rossi wanted to bring that art and science of polyphony and counterpoint into the Synagogue, which at the time used only single voice and rhythm-free chant.
His music failed to capture the hearts of the people due to many reasons including that the music lacked any trace of previous Jewish chant, as well as social and religious reasons. His music, however, did not vanish on account of its sheer craft. In the nineteenth century with the emancipation of Jews and the liberal trends that followed, his music was heard again. It was found to be moving and inspiring and this time the gift left to Jewish sacred music by this great composer was realized.

Tzvi Taub. From the book: Kol Nidrei, Synagogue Music for the Beginning Pianist.
© Koltor Corp. 1995