Alfonso Ferrabosco (baptized January 18, 1543 – August 12, 1588) was
an Italian composer. While mostly famous as the solitary Italian
madrigalist working in England, and the one mainly responsible for
the growth of the madrigal there, he also composed much sacred
music. He also may have been a spy for Elizabeth I while he was in
His son, Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger was also a composer.
He was the eldest son of Domenico Ferrabosco, and a member of an
aristocratic Bolognese family which had many musicians among its
members. Alfonso was born in Bologna. Little
is known about his early life, but he is known to have spent part of
it in Rome and part in Lorraine in the service of Charles of Guise.
In 1562, probably with his uncle, he came to England for the first
time, where he found employment with Elizabeth I. Throughout his
life he made periodic trips to Italy, not without controversy, for
evidently neither the Pope nor the Inquisition fully approved of his
spending time in England, which was in the late 16th century
actively at war with Roman Catholic countries. While in England, he
lost his Italian inheritance, and while away in Italy he was charged
with certain crimes in England (including robbing and killing
another foreigner). While he was successful in clearing his name, he
left England in 1578 and never returned; he died in Bologna.
Many have said that he was a secret service agent for Elizabeth,
working during a time when such intelligence was desperately needed;
however, little more than circumstantial evidence has ever been
produced on this allegation. He was certainly unusually well-paid
for a musician at the court of Elizabeth. Attempts by Elizabeth to
get him to return to England after 1580 were fruitless.
Ferrabosco brought the madrigal to England. While he
did not start the madrigal craze there—that really began in 1588
with the publication of Nicholas Yonge's Musica Transalpina, the
popularity of which was such that the madrigal instantly became the
most prevalent type of composition in England—he did plant the seeds
for this development. Ferrabosco's style may have been tame and
conservative by the standards of a Marenzio or a Luzzaschi, but it
was harmonious with English taste. Most of his madrigals were for
five or six voices, were light in style, and largely ignored the
progressive developments in Italy such as expressive chromaticism
and word-painting. Technically they were skillful, and this is the
quality that impressed the English commentators the most: "deep
skill" was the phrase Thomas Morley used to describe his work when
he published several of his compositions in a collection of 1598,
ten years after his death.
In addition to the madrigals, Ferrabosco wrote sacred music,
including motets, lamentations, and several anthems, all in a
cappella vocal style. He also wrote instrumental music: fantasias,
pavans, galliards, In Nomines, and passamezzos, for a variety of
instrumental combinations including lute and viols.
From Wikipedia, the free ediancyclope
Penelope ever was praised (Alfonso Ferrabosco I ) Trinity Consort
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger
(ca. 1575 – March 1628) was an English composer and viol
player of Italian descent. He straddles the line between the
Renaissance and Baroque eras.
Ferrabosco was born at
Greenwich, the illegitimate son of the Italian composer
Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder. His mother might have been
Susanna Symons, whom Alfonso the elder later married.
Ferrabosco the younger was left under the guardianship of
Gomer van Awsterwyke, a member of the Queen's court.
Although Alfonso the elder asked for Alfonso the younger to
be sent to him in Italy, where he had moved with his wife,
the Queen insisted that he stay in England. Ferrabosco
remained in Gomer van Awsterwyke's care until Awsterwyke's
death in 1592. At this time he started a long career as a
court musician, including as the private music tutor of
Ferrabosco collaborated with Ben Jonson on several projects,
including The Masque of Blackness (1605), and wrote music
for several other masques besides. His music was published
by John Browne in 1609, including a number of settings of
poems by John Donne and Thomas Campion, as well as lute and
viol music. He frequently wrote in the new declamatory
Baroque style, and although he never went to Italy, he was
well aware of contemporary Italian music.
Ferrabosco the younger's reputation was built largely on his
prowess as a viol player, and even more so his compositions
for viol consort. These were highly idiomatic works, with
lots of divisions, and virtuosic lines. He also wrote many
In Nomines, which were great examples of that popular genre,
without the pedantic bent many later In nomines possessed.
Ferrabosco was also one of the first to write lyra viol
music in tablature, along with Coprario, and wrote a book of
Lessons for the lyra viol.
Ferrabosco continually had difficulty with debts, and was
involved in an unsuccessful scheme involving various rights
on the River Thames, including dredging it for gravel, and
imposing fines on people who caused a nuisance on it.
He died in March 1628 and was buried at St Alfege Church on
the 11th of that month, in his home village of Greenwich.
In January 1612 Ferrabosco
the younger married Ellen (d. 1638) (daughter of Nicholas
Lanier (ca. 1523–1612) and his second wife Lucretia). they
had three notable sons: Alfonso Ferrabosco (d. 1652), Henry
Ferrabosco (d. 1658?), and John Ferrabosco (bap. 1626, d.
1682) all of whom were musicians. Two of his daughters are
known to have married musicians: Elizabeth married George
Bunckley, and Catherine married Edward Coleman. Coleman was
a court musician after the Restoration. They were friends of
Samuel Pepys and both of them are know to have sung in
From Wikipedia, the free ediancyclope
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger - Four Note (Pavan)
Ferrabosco four note Pavan
Fuerunt Mihi Lacrimae - Alphonso Ferrabosco the younger (c1575-1628)
Psalm 41: 4
fuerunt mihi lacrimae meae panis die ac nocte dum dicitur mihi
cotidie ubi est Deus tuus
As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have
sinned against you!"
Dovehouse Pavan by Alfonso Ferrabosco (the Younger) ca 1575-1628
A 5 part pavan played on different 3 viols, (the middle 3 parts on
the new Tielke).
Alfonso Ferrabosco II - Pavin
A consort piece with a little bit different sounds, because
used a tenor and bass viol for the first part, and added an organ
continuo part and a bass viol
Ferrabosco II - In nomine through all parts (a6)
John Bryan, Alison Crum, Sarah Groser, Roy Marks, Susanna Pell,
Alfonso Ferrabosco II - Four Notes Pavan
The Little Light Consort feat. Agnes Waibel:
Soma Salat-Zakariás, Ryosuke Sakamoto, Christoph Prendl, Leonardo
Bortolotto - Viols
Alfonso Ferrabosco II · Fantasia (Hexachord)
Private Musicke / Pierre Pitzl
Alfonso Ferrabosco, A Pavin
Pavin by Alfonso Ferrabosco - Ernesto Quezada, lute (in live)
Alfonso Ferrabosco II - Four Notes Pavan: "Hear me, O God"
"Hear me, O god": A Hymn to God the Father written by Mr. Ben Jonson
sett as "Four notes Pavan" by Mr. Alfonso Ferrabosco II
IL CONCERTO DELLE VIOLE:
Roberto Gini, Kees Boeke, Marco Angilella, Sabina Colonna Preti
Jill Feldman: soprano