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Were there any Jewish scholars who, based on Jewish scholarship, acknowledged classical music (be it baroque to neo-classical) in a positive light and/or ever make mention of specific composers or pieces of music?

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    Well, there's the Bach.
    – Double AA
    Nov 4, 2014 at 22:42
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    Isn't music part of the Sheva Chochmos?
    – user7340
    Nov 4, 2014 at 22:46
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    I'm assuming Moses Mendelssohn appreciated the works of his grandson Felix.
    – user6591
    Nov 4, 2014 at 23:18
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    Why the modern-times tag? Nov 5, 2014 at 5:24
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    @msh210 I guess so - I think of modern times as having started in maybe late 19th early 20th century, although it is a rather ill-defined term. Baroque lived in the 1600's. Nov 5, 2014 at 5:33

2 Answers 2

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The last rebbe of Lubavitch said that putting "Haaderes v'haemuna" to the tune of La Marseillaise spiritually elevates the French nation.

Source: http://chabad.org/297181 (page has a video that starts when the page loads)

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  • But not everyone can do that Nov 5, 2014 at 5:53
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    @ShmuelBrin, not everyone can put "Haaderes v'haemuna" to the tune of La Marseillaise? Not everyone can put a Jewish poem to a classical tune? Not everyone can spiritually elevate a nation? Not everyone who puts a Jewish poem to a classical tune spiritually elevates a nation? Or what?
    – msh210
    Nov 5, 2014 at 5:59
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    Not everyone can elevate non-Jewish songs, all the more so elevating a nation in the process. Nov 5, 2014 at 18:02
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    @ShmuelBrin, sichosinenglish.org/books/sound-the-great-shofar/16.htm indicates that putting that poem with that tune was the spontaneous work of a bunch of chasidim. And it's sung by a bunch of chasidim. So perhaps not everyone can elevate non-Jewish tunes or elevate a nation thereby, but I guess a bunch of chasidim can.
    – msh210
    Nov 5, 2014 at 19:37
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Salamone Rossi or Salomone Rossi (Hebrew: סלומונה רוסי or שלמה מן האדומים‎) (Salamon, Schlomo; de' Rossi) (ca. 1570 – 1630) was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer. He was a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance period and early Baroque.

I'm unaware of how many shuls, currently, sing works by Rossi, now, as many of his Cantorial works are choral, and, unfortunately, there aren't too many shuls with choirs in the U.S.

Your question doesn't clarify the type of "Jewish scholars" you are seeking. FWIW, The Belz School of Jewish Music, affiliated with Yeshiva University, includes a number of works by Rossi in its cantorial training. I think that considering that among the faculty are notable and knowledgable cantors such as Cantors Sherwood Goffin and Malovani, they would qualify as having both musical as well as Judaic scholarship in this area - enough to understand why Rossi was a significant composer.

As for what's considered "classical" music - since @DoubleAA mentioned "The Bach", would Shlomo Carl Bach ;-) qualify? As controversial as he was, he was also very much appreciated, as well, and proof is readily audible in shuls and weddings. (Without him, what would the trumpets play after the glass is broken?)

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  • I've heard that Canadian shuls still use choirs.
    – Scimonster
    Nov 5, 2014 at 14:48
  • I'm not sure if Carlebach was trained/taught music. He couldn't read music. I would imagine this would hinder his appreciation for classical music
    – bondonk
    Nov 5, 2014 at 15:08
  • @Scimonster, the BAYT does, but seldom.
    – msh210
    Nov 5, 2014 at 19:39

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