Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder

Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger
Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder
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 Italy.

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 Prince Henry.
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 theatre productions.

From Wikipedia, the free ediancyclope
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger - Four Note (Pavan) - Connor Burrowes
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, Peter Wendland.
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
Roberto Gini, Kees Boeke, Marco Angilella, Sabina Colonna Preti
Jill Feldman: soprano
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