History and origin of the Chazan (professional Jewish singer) – Early times – Part 3
Salomone Rossi was the Chazan that revolutionized the Jewish liturgical chant.
As I had commented in the previous publication “History and origin of the Chazan (professional Jewish singer) – Early times – Part 2″ the chazan Salomone Rossi shook with his innovations for many years in places like the Italian Jewish neighborhoods in the Veneto regions, Emilia Romagna, and Lombardy.
He modernized the religious services, introducing choirs and musical instruments, especially the organ, bringing a new musical richness to the religious worships.
Like every reformism in religions, that of Chazan Salomone Rossi, produced rejection and opposition of the orthodox sectors of the jewish community.
This inflexible sectors said that the new proposals were far from Judaism so they even called them profane, they were offended by the changes introduced.
Once the Chazan Rossi organized a choir of 8 people to accompany him in his religious worship and was denounced to the Rabbinic Assembly of Venice.
A rabbi from Venice wrote in his defense that while the orthodox sectors were determined to reject an innovative progressivism that they cannot understand, there was absolutely nothing written in the Talmud, which is contrary to choral singing in religious services.
In this way he expressed his support for Salomone Rossi and invited all Jews to respect and disseminate musical art in the synagogues.
He wrote 33 musical scores for salms and prayers, for choirs and accompaniment of musical instruments such as the organ and the chitarrone.
Unlike other singers, the Chazan Salomone Rossi was a cultured, scholarly, deeply studious person who knew the western musical system.
This was something very rare in his time, among the singers of the synagogues and for this reason, the Chazan Salomone Rossi, also stood out with respect to his contemporaries.
He has been a pioneer who performed an unprecedented event; he sang his own compositions.
At the time, Jewish liturgical music was transmitted in the same way that popular music was transmitted, word of mouth through the generations, it was an oral legacy.
In spite of the opposition of the orthodox sectors, the Chazan Salomone Rossi, got that assistants to the religious services wanted to sing their songs and learn their melodies. In this way, the taste for scholarly music in synagogues was developed throughout the modern age.
As has been commented in previous publications, with the incorporation of Chazan in the Jewish liturgy, the Jewish ceremonies of Bar Mitzvah and Jewish weddings prospered in splendor beauty and emotion.