... for violas da gamba, which doesn't really need the Jewish "shtick" to be appealing. The principal composers here - Bassano, the Lupos, Duarte - were Venetians, members of dynastic families of musicians and instrument makers; compositionally, they were assimilated English folk. Salomone Rossi was indeed forthrightly Jewish but granted protection and the right NOT to wear his yellow star in Mantua. Rossi made the only significant effort by any Renaissance/Baroque composer to set Jewish liturgy to the music of his times, but none of that impulse shows up in his consort music.
None of the consort pieces on this CD will elevate the composers to the status of Locke, Jenkins, or Tye, but they are all modestly witty and fun to hear. Many of them take the forms of courtly dances popular in Tudor times, pointing toward the seminal role of dance music in the suites that eventually gave their names to the movements of classical quartets and symphonies.
Yes, Virginia, there are living composers of music for violas da gamba, and Fretwork has commissioned and performed some of the best. The three "Birds on Fire" fantasias by Orlando Gough recorded here have much more obvious touches of Jewish musical tradition than the Tudor/Italian works. I find them interesting enough that I wish I could hear more of the composer's work in its own context... and by implication more of Bassano and Rossi here.