Camilla de Rossi

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Camilla de Rossi (fl. 1707–1710) was an Italian composer. Several women are known to have composed music in Northern Italy and Austria during the period 1670 to 1725. Of those women, though there is no remaining biographical information, Camilla de Rossi by far has the most surviving works. The only known biographical detail about Camilla is her Roman citizenship. She always signed the title pages of her manuscripts as Romana, or a woman of Roman descent. Rossi composed four oratorios for solo voices and orchestra, all of which were commissioned by Emperor Joseph I of Austria and were performed in the Imperial Chapel in Vienna.

All of Rossi’s surviving works demonstrate an intimate knowledge of stringed instruments and, as Barbara Garvey Jackson describes, "a keen interest in tone color". Her oratorios are all for solo voices; none of her works use choruses. She calls for various instruments (chalumeaux, archlute, trumpets, oboe) with string orchestra (including continuo). Her oratorio, Il Sacrifizio di Abramo, reveals her knowledge of instruments, strings in particular, but also demands two chalumeaux, an instrument first heard in Vienna in 1707, one year before her oratorio was performed for the first time in 1708. Her cantata Frá Dori e Fileno is for strings and two soloists. Where she learned these skills as a musician and as a composer are entirely unknown as of today. Especially given the fact that she was a woman from Rome, she would not have had access to the musical gatherings fostered by the pope and his cardinals.

Works[edit]

  • Oratorios, for solo vv, orch (MSS incl. some libs and orch pts in A-Wm; arias ed. B.G. Jackson in Arias from Oratorios by Women Composers of the Eighteenth Century, Fayetteville, AR, 1987–99):
  • Santa Beatrice d’Este (B. Pamphili), 1707, ed. B.G. Jackson (Fayetteville, 1986);
  • Il sacrifizio di Abramo (F. Dario), 1708, ed. B.G. Jackson (Fayetteville, 1984);
  • Il figliuol prodigo (C. de Rossi),1709;
  • Sant’Alessio, 1710;
  • Frà Dori, e Fileno (cant.), S, A, str orch, D-Dl, ed. B.G. Jackson (Fayetteville, 1983)

Discography[edit]

  • Rossi, Camilla de: Sinfonia [with lute] from "Il Sacrifizio di Abramo, Perf. Terrie Baune, Judith Nelson and the Bay Area Women's Philharmonic. Providence, RI. Newport Classic, 1990
  • Oratorio "S. Alessio", perf. Ensemble Musica Fiorita, Daniela Dolci, director (soloists Graham Pushee, countertenor; Rosa Dominguez, soprano; Agnieszka Kowalezyk, soprano; William Lombardi, tenor), pan classics 510 136, 2001
  • "Il Sacrifizio di Abramo", Weser-Renaissance, Manfred Cordes, conductor (Soloists Susanna Rydén, soprano; Rolf Popken, alto; Jon Strömberg, tenor), Classic Produktion Osnabrück, cpo 999 3712, 1996
  • Santa Beatrice d'Este, Musica Fiorita; Daniela Dolci, conductor; (Soloists Graciella Oddone: Santa Beatrice, soprano; Denis Lakey: countertenor), ORF Edition Alte Musik, CD 3092

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jackson, Barbara Garvey: "Camilla de Rossi," Grove Music Online (1/28/07), http://www.grovemusic.com
  • Jackson, Barbara Garvey: "Camilla de Rossi," Composers born 1600-1699, New York, G.K. Hall, 1996, ed. Sylvia Glickman and Martha Furman Schleifer.
  • Jackson, Barbara Garvey, Arias from oratorios by women composers of the eighteenth century. Vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. Fayetteville, Arkansas, ClarNan Editions, 1987-1999. Volume 1 also includes Catterina Benedetta Grazianini and Maria Margharita Grimani
  • Jackson, Barbara Garvey. "Oratorios by Command of the Emperor: The Music of Camilla de Rossi," Current Musicology 42 (1986), 7-19.

References[edit]