Baroque composer of chamber cantatas, operas, and church music; b. Torremaggiore (Foggia), 1598; d. Rome, Feb. 19, 1653. Rossi first studied in Naples and then became attached to the household of Cardinal Marc'Antonio Borghese in Rome (c. 1620), organist at the church of San Luigi de' Francesi in 1633, and virtuoso da camera in the service of Cardinal Antonio Barberini in 1641. His first opera, Il palazzo incantato, was performed at the Barberini theater in 1642. After urban viii (Maffeo Barberini) died, the remaining members of his family fled to France (see barberini). From Paris they sent for Italian musicians, a group of whom (including Rossi) arrived there in 1646. Under the patronage of Cardinal mazarin, Rossi's second and last opera, Orfeo, received a lavish production in Paris. His church music includes the oratorios Santa Caterina alla rota, Oratorio per la Settimana Santa, and Giuseppe figlio di Giacobbe. Rossi's lyrical genius is most apparent in his more than 350 chamber cantatas. His skillful handling of recitatives and arias in these minature scene complexes influenced opera and church composers in his and in succeeding generations.
Bibliography: l. rossi, modern reprints in f. a. gevaert, ed., Les Gloires de l'Italie, 2 v. (Paris 1906). h. riemann, ed. Kantatenfrühling, 2 v. (Leipzig 1912). f. vatielli, comp., Antiche cantate d'amore (Bologna 1916). Literature. a. ghislanzoni, Luigi Rossi (Milan 1954). a. wotquenne, Étude bibliographique sur le compositeur napolitain Luigi Rossi (Brussels 1909). w. c. holmes, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949–) 11:938–942. e. caluori, "The Cantatas of Luigi Rossi" (Ph.D. diss. Brandeis University, 1972); "Luigi Rossi" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 16, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 217–221; The Cantatas of Luigi Rossi: Analysis and Thematic Index 2 vols. (Ann Arbor 1981). d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996) 764. p. ricciardelli, Repertorio bibliografico–storico delle composizioni del musicista Luigi Rossi 2 vols. (Torremaggiore 1988). n. slonimsky, ed. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition (New York 1992) 1544.
[w. c. holmes]