Profeti della Quinta
The Renaissance and Early Baroque, not commonly associated with Jewish music, can nevertheless boast of some, as was demonstrated by the Barocade and the Profeti della Quinta ensembles last week.
The period's comparatively best known Jewish composer, Salomone Rossi, was featured in the program.
Besides some instrumental pieces faithful to the period's style, Rossi was represented by settings to Hebrew texts from Psalms and the prayer book. Somewhat surprisingly, a Cantata Ebraica by the non-Jewish Carlo Grossi was also performed.
The renditions by the Profeti della Quinta, an Israeli group consisting of two counter tenors, two tenors and a bass, were a pure delight. Intonation was exceptionally pure, and pronunciation was clear and more intelligible than that of many local vocal ensembles. The articulation was well-shaped and the accentuations were placed pointedly, though subtly.
Thoroughly professional as the quintet's performance was, humor was also an essential part of its professionalism in pieces that required it, such as Francesco Corteccia's "Le Vecchie per Invida" and the concluding "Had Gadya," in a traditional tune of the Italian-Jewish community.
The Barocade ensemble, contributing instrumental pieces on period instruments, displayed an appealing level of a meticulously well-rehearsed performance.