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(3) Costantino Ferrabosco

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(3) Costantino Ferrabosco

(b ? after 1550; d after 1596). Italian composer, almost certainly a brother of (4) Matthia Ferrabosco, but his name is absent from the baptismal rolls of Bologna. He had settled at Nuremberg in the service of the Emperor Rudolf II by 1590 when, in his only known publication (the Canzonette a quatro voci, Nuremberg, 1590), he is described as ‘Constantino Ferrabosco Bolognese, Musico di S.M. Caesarea’. In the prefatory matter he referred to this as his fourth book. He returned to Italy, where in 1591 he was appointed maestro di cappella at Ancona Cathedral; in 1596 he apparently took up the same post in Fermo, and in 1597 was elected maestro di cappella in Ascoli Piceno. (G. Livi: ‘The Ferrabosco Family’, MA, iv, 1912–13, pp.121–42; DBI)


(4) Matthia Ferrabosco

(b Bologna, bap. 16 July 1550; d Graz, bur. 23 Feb 1616). Italian singer and composer, almost certainly a brother of (3) Costantino Ferrabosco. His father was Ercole Ferrabosco. On 1 September 1581 he became a member of the court chapel of Archduke Karl at Graz; he served there in one capacity or another for 35 years. He came to the court as an alto singer, but his duties after 1588 also included that of teacher of the choirboys. Three of the latter, Cividino, Jelich and Simonetti, were to achieve some renown as musicians.

On the death of the archduke in July 1590, the chapel was much reduced, but Matthia was retained, and was engaged by Karl’s widow to teach her sons Maximilian and Leopold. In 1603 Matthia was made Undter-Capelmaister, and Pietro Bianco his superior attested to his ‘pious, upright, industrious, and artistically accomplished service’. He travelled with the chapel when it went to Regensburg and Vienna. Among his duties was the purchasing of instruments; in this capacity he bought from Nuremberg in 1607 ten trombones and 12 trumpets, and also bought music from Venice. Upon the death of Bianco in 1611, he became an administrative officer, but the post of Kapellmeister was left vacant for three years; it was eventually awarded to the (much younger) Giovanni Priuli. After Matthia’s death, his widow Catharina successfully petitioned Archduke Ferdinand for a settlement in recognition of her husband’s long service, and received the generous sum of 600 florins; this was followed in the next year by the 77 florins still outstanding for her husband’s instruction of the choirboys and repair of instruments.

There is no record of Matthia as a composer of sacred music; his extant works comprise two villanellas in L. Torti’s Il secondo libro delle canzoni a tre voci (Venice, 158410) and 22 canzonettas in Canzonette a quatro voci (Venice, 1585; two are included in DTÖ, xc, 1954). It is clear that he was no innovator. The two villanellas are in the standard AABCC form, and are basically homophonic with syllabic declamation. The Canzonette, constituting a logical development of the villanella style, show heightened polyphonic interest and convincing attempts at madrigalian word-painting. Adrian Denss chose nine of the canzonettas to appear in his Florilegium (159419), but a ‘Gagliarda Ferabosci’ in the same collection (f.77) cannot reliably be assigned to Matthia.



MGG1 (H. Federhofer)

G. Livi: ‘The Ferrabosco Family’, MA, iv (1912–13), 121–42

H. Federhofer: ‘Matthia Ferrabosco’, MD, vii (1953), 205–33

H. Federhofer: Musikpflege und Musiker am Grazer Habsburgerhof der Erzherzöge Karl und Ferdinand von Innerösterreich (1564–1619) (Mainz, 1967)


(5) Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii)

(b Greenwich, c1575; bur. Greenwich, 11 March 1628). English composer and viol player of Italian descent, eldest and illegitimate son of (2) Alfonso Ferrabosco (i). He was arguably the most accomplished, innovative and influential composer of chamber music for viols, and of songs for court masques, of his generation in England.

1. Life.

2. Works.



Ferrabosco: (5) Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii)

1. Life.

According to Anthony Wood (GB-Ob Wood D.19(4)) he was born in Greenwich, where he lived for much of his life. His mother was probably Susanna Symons, whom his father later married. When his parents left England soon after their wedding they left him and his infant sister in the guardianship of Gomer van Awsterwyke (or Gommar van Oostrewijk), a member of the queen's flute consort. In 1582 Alfonso (i) asked for his children to be brought to Italy, but the queen ordered their guardian not to let them go, and they remained in his charge until he died in 1592.

Shortly after Awsterwyke's death, Elizabeth granted the young Alfonso an annuity of £26 13s 4d as ‘musitian for the violles’, and he continued to receive this until 1601, but it appears that he took little part in court music during those years. Sometime before 30 April 1602 he petitioned Sir Robert Cecil for a reasonable stipend and something to pay his debts, and as a result was appointed to a court place with retrospective effect from 24 June 1601, at a salary of £50.

From Christmas 1604 he received a second court salary of £50 as an extraordinary groom of the Privy Chamber, as he was teaching music to the young Prince Henry; he also bought viols for the prince's use. That same Christmas saw the first of his collaborations with the poet Ben Jonson and the designer Inigo Jones on a masque for the Stuart court, The Masque of Blackness, given on 6 January 1605 with Queen Anne as the principal masquer. His music for the following year's Twelfth Night masque, Hymenaei, elicited warm praise from Jonson, and Alfonso seems to have been engaged to write songs for Jonson's play Volpone, acted at the Globe in 1606. He was a regular contributor of vocal music for court masques. In 1609 John Browne published two books of Ferrabosco's music, each representing a significant aspect of his creative work. The first, Ayres, contains songs and dialogues with lute and bass viol (fig.2), including settings of poems by Donne and Campion and solo songs for Jonson's masques. The second, Lessons for 1. 2. and 3. Viols, is devoted to pieces for lyra viol.

When Henry became Prince of Wales in 1610, Ferrabosco was not one of the musicians appointed to his household, but continued to serve in the King's Privy Chamber, a position that he kept after the prince's death in 1612. Surprisingly, he seems not to have been involved in the prince's funeral; but following Prince Charles's creation as Prince of Wales Alfonso's name headed the list of musicians appointed to serve him. Outside the royal family his patrons may have included Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery (later Earl of Pembroke), and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.

Despite an 11-year gap after 1611 in Ferrabosco's known collaborations with Jonson, there seems to be no evidence to suggest that they had quarrelled, as some (e.g. Chan) have supposed. Nevertheless a change can be detected from around 1615 in the way that Jonson expected his masques to be treated musically (Walls). In the Twelfth Night masque for 1617, The Vision of Delight, and in Lovers made Men, a private masque given the following month, an apparently novel feature was verse ‘sung (after the Italian manner) Stylo recitativo’. Nicholas Lanier (ii) was the composer for Lovers made Men, and when Ferrabosco's name next appears in connection with a masque it is as Lanier's collaborator in the Masque of Augurs (1622).

Meanwhile Ferrabosco remained prominent as a string player at court; he was listed in 1624 at the head of a group of four ‘Musicians for the Violls’, and he was responsible for purchasing instruments in 1623 and 1627, including ‘lyras’. It is not clear whether these were ‘lyras’ of the recently invented sort, with sympathetic strings, but Ferrabosco probably did play on such instruments. The viol player André Maugars, visiting England as one of Queen Henrietta Maria's musicians (1625–7), declared that he heard no player of ‘la Lyre’ in Italy who was fit to be compared with the great ‘Farabosco d'Angleterre’ (Thoinan).

By 1617 Ferrabosco's annual salary at court had risen to £140, but he continued to incur debts. A dozen years or more earlier he had married Ellen Lanier; but his financial difficulties may have resulted less from having to feed a growing family than from a rash business venture upon which he embarked with his brother-in-law Innocent Lanier, one of the king's flautists. Along with Captain Hugh Lydiard, a merchant seaman, they were granted rights to dredge the Thames and to sell sand and gravel taken from the river-bed, to levy a penny per ton on imports to and exports from the port of London, and to collect fines imposed for causing annoyance on the river. In 1625, having sold his share in the patent of this badly managed venture, Ferrabosco seems to have withdrawn from the partnership. In January 1626 he was preparing to travel ‘beyonde the seas’, though his purpose is unknown.

In July 1626, following Coprario's death, he was granted a fourth court post, that of ‘composer of musicke in ordinary’ to the king, which added another £40 a year to his income. He died in 1628 and was buried on 11 March at the church of St Alfege, Greenwich. His four court posts were granted to two of his sons, Alfonso (iii) and Henry; (6) John Ferrabosco was also a musician, and two of his daughters married musicians: Elizabeth married George Bunckley, and Katherine married Edward Coleman and was herself well known as a singer. (For further details of Henry and Alfonso (iii) see BDECM.)

Ferrabosco: (5) Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii)

2. Works.

Vocal music was an important element in Jonson’s masques, and Ferrabosco’s surviving masque songs give but a partial view of his contributions. It is disappointing that we do not have a single chorus by him, as some of the most impressive moments must have been choral. Likewise all the more elaborate songs are lost. Only two solo songs out of at least seven numbers (including choruses and duets) from Oberon, the Faery Prince (1611) have come down to us; and all his music for the Masque of Augurs (1622) is lost.

For the surviving masque songs imagination is needed to gauge their original effect in performance. The singers were chosen for their ability to project their voices loudly, supported by a dozen lutes, in the banqueting house at Whitehall, and there is evidence that they embellished the melodies (‘Why stayes the bridegroome’ is an example of a song that is found in a florid version in one manuscript). The style of the masque songs matches their function. So ‘If all the ages of the earth’ is proclamatory in character, using simple, bold, diatonic harmonies in support of a vocal line that, while skilfully shaped, is unusually disjunct. This style is carried even further in ‘Gentle knights’ and ‘How neere to good is what is faire’: both songs have a wide tessitura and incorporate such features as scalic runs traversing an octave or more, and phrases that leap a 12th in two bounds.

Of his other songs, Sing wee then heroyque grace approaches most closely the masque style; it was probably intended for a festivity or entertainment in honour of King James, with two trebles and a tenor each singing a section. Elsewhere, in Like hermit poore or the setting of Donne's So, so, leave off this last lamenting kisse, the rhetorical manner is tempered with intimacy of expression. Unconstant love is reminiscent of the consort song tradition, with its delicately contrapuntal lute accompaniment and mainly syllabic word-setting. In a lighter vein is Young and simple though I am, a strophic setting of verses by Campion. The dialogues, which typically take the form of conversations between a nymph and a lovelorn shepherd, are noteworthy for being among the earliest such pieces composed in England, and it is in these that the new declamatory style is most clearly in evidence.

Though Ferrabosco may never have visited Italy, he took a close interest in recent Italian music. His madrigalette for four high voices, which probably date from shortly before the turn of the century, resemble the Canzonette of Felice Anerio (Venice, 1586). Ferrabosco took some of his texts from Anerio's book, others from collections of Italian songs published between 1570 and 1593. His lute-song O eyes, O mortall starres probably originated as a setting of Guarini's Occhi, stelle mortali; in one manuscript the Italian as well as the English words are underlaid. The Italian monodies in GB-Ob Tenbury 1018 seem to be the earliest such pieces by an English composer that have come down to us. Three are settings of dramatic texts from Guarini's Il pastor fido, in which Ferrabosco emulated the rhetorical declamation of Caccini's solo madrigals; in particular, O crudel Amarilli stands out for its dignity, clarity of structure and expressive force.

For the Latin sacred music the so-called Tregian score-books US-NYp Drexel 4302 and GB-Lbl Eg.3665 are a principal source. These works may have circulated among English Catholics, although there is no evidence that Ferrabosco was ever accused of recusancy himself. His main reason for writing them was perhaps to honour Alfonso (i)’s memory and acquire mastery in a field in which he had excelled. Alfonso (ii) set some of the same motet texts as his father (Laboravi in gemitu meo; Tribulationem et dolorem inveni) and took as the main model for his Lamentations Alfonso (i)'s setting c65. Possibly a particular commemoration lies behind a motet with so unusual a coupling of texts as the antiphon Ubi duo vel tres congregati fuerint and the burial respond Libera me, Domine. The Lamentations were probably never sung liturgically; however, they would have been an emotive reminder of the Tenebrae service for Catholic sympathizers.

The verse anthem Have ye no regard, all ye that pass by – also a Lamentations text, but in this case destined for Anglican use – was in the repertory of Charles I's Chapel Royal and several cathedrals. Ferrabosco also contributed three devotional songs to Sir William Leighton's Teares or Lamentacions of a Sorrowful Soule (1614). One of these skilfully worked miniatures, In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, is set for four treble voices, an unusual combination that he had used in some of his early canzonettas.

Ferrabosco's reputation as a composer rests above all on his consort music. One of his achievements was to develop an idiomatic style of imitative counterpoint suited to viols. Limber, agile subjects and division figuration help to give the music its distinctive character. By continuing boldly in his father's footsteps and treating the In Nomine as an exhilarating genre of string chamber music, he helped to keep this English tradition alive well into the 17th century. A fondness for architectural symmetry and harmonic schemes is apparent in the remarkable ‘In Nomine through all parts’, in which the plainchant melody, rather than being played in breves by a single viol, is given in different rhythms and different transpositions to each of the six instruments. Another symmetrically planned work is the bipartite Ut re mi fa sol la, based on a cantus firmus of extraordinary audacity which results in no fewer than seven enharmonic modulations: in the prima pars the treble viol plays a series of eight ascending hexachords, each pitched a semitone higher than the preceding one; in the secunda pars the same eight hexachords are heard descending and in reverse order. Ferrabosco may have intended the work as a viol player's riposte to an Ut re mi fa sol la for keyboard by Bull; the four-part version probably came first, and was revised before being expanded into the five-part version (which, despite Lowinsky's preference for the authorship of Alfonso Dalla Viola, seems certain to be by Alfonso (ii); see Field, 1999).

As in the cantus firmus pieces, Ferrabosco demonstrated an architectonic approach to tonal and thematic organization in his fantasias, in contrast to the madrigalian style favoured by some of his English contemporaries. He was one of the first composers in England to unify a fantasia by concentrating on a single point, to crown a design by bringing back subjects heard earlier, and to make strategic use of augmentation or diminution. Many of his fantasias consist of two large sections, a form that allowed scope for extended fugal treatment of subjects as well as thematic or modal contrast. His work was to have a strong influence on younger composers, including Jenkins and William Lawes. Some of his most serious and contemplative chamber music may be found in his pavans. They include the beautiful Dovehouse Pavan, one manuscript of which is in the youthful hand of William Lawes (GB-Lbl Add.40657–61). Lawes used keyboard reductions of Alfonso's C major pavan (VdGS 2) and an alman in the same key (VdGS 1) as the basis for variations for two division bass viols and organ (MB, xxi, 1963, no.6). Ferrabosco's Pavan on Four Notes was used as the model for a pavan by Daniel Farrant; Ben Jonson wrote his Hymne to God the Father (‘Heare me O God’) to fit its treble, thus transforming it into a consort song, in which form it was already being copied into manuscripts between 1610 and 1620.

Ferrabosco appears to have been the author of two virtuoso arrangements for division viol of Palestrina's Vestiva i colli – their title, ‘Sound out my voyce’, comes from the English adaptation of the madrigal printed in Musica transalpina (1588) – which show a sure grasp of the style of diminution or passaggio playing associated in Italy with the viola bastarda (Holman, 1993; Otterstedt, 1998). No divisions on grounds by Ferrabosco are extant, but a book of ‘Pavans, Fantasies, Grownds, &c with Devisions upon them’ by ‘Alfonso Ferabasco’ and others was in the Duke of Newcastle's library in 1636 (Hulse).

According to Playford's Musicks Recreation on the Viol, Lyra-Way (2/1661 and subsequent editions) Ferrabosco, Daniel Farrant and John Coprario were the first to write lessons in tablature so as to facilitate the use of different tunings, and featuring chord playing. Whether or not Playford was right to assign priority to these men, Ferrabosco's Lessons is the earliest book devoted exclusively to music for lyra viol. What is more, some of these pieces had been in circulation for long enough to be misattributed to others, as we learn from the composer's preface. Three tunings are used: the ‘old lyra way’ (if the top string is tuned to g': g'–d'–b–f–B–F), ‘Alfonso way’ (g'–d'–a–d–A–D) and ‘eights’ or ‘octave way’ (g'–d'–g–d–G–D). Most of the solos are dance pairs, consisting of a pavan, alman or galliard coupled with a coranto that is usually derived fairly closely from it. Though some of the pavans and almans originated as consort pieces (critical comparison suggests that the consort versions generally came first), the corantos all appear to have been specifically composed for the lyra viol and no consort versions of them survive. In the section devoted to duos, the relationship between an alman or galliard and its coranto is much looser, because the coranto is always an arrangement of one that had originally been paired with a different dance for a single viol. Transcriptions for three lyra viols of a four-part fantasia and a five-part pavan add weight to the collection. But it is from the lyra solos that we can perhaps best form an impression of Ferrabosco's artistry on an instrument which, in his hands, seemed like the Jacobean equivalent of Orpheus's lyre.

Ferrabosco: (5) Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii)


Editions: Alfonso Ferrabosco the Younger: Ayres (1609), ed. E.H. Fellowes, EL, 2nd ser., xvi (1927) [F]Jacobean Consort Music, ed. R.T. Dart and W. Coates, MB, ix (1955, 2/1962/R) [D]Alfonso Ferrabosco II: Manuscript Songs, ed. I. Spink, EL, 2nd ser., xix (1966) [S]The Songs and Motets of Alfonso Ferrabosco, the Younger (1575–1628), ed. J. Duffy (Ann Arbor, 1980) [D]Alfonso Ferrabosco the Younger: Four-Part Fantasias for Viols, ed. A. Ashbee and B. Bellingham, MB, lxii (1992) [AB]Alfonso Ferrabosco the Younger: Consort Music of Five and Six Parts, ed. C.D.S. Field and D. Pinto, MB (forthcoming) [FP]


Domine, Deus meus (2p. Noli me proiicere), 5vv, D; Ego dixi, Domine, miserere mei (2p. Convertere, Domine, usquequo), 5vv, D; Ego sum resurrectio, 5vv, D; Fortitudo mea, 5vv, D; Laboravi in gemitu meo, 5vv, D; O nomen Jesu, 5vv, D

Quare dereliquerunt me, 4vv, D; Sustinuit anima mea, 5vv, D; Tribulationem et dolorem inveni (2p. O Domine), 5vv, D; Ubi duo vel tres congregati fuerint (2p. Libera me, Domine), 5vv, D


Lamentations, 5vv, D

english sacred

Have ye no regard, all ye that pass by? (verse anthem), A, B, 4vv, org, GB-Cp, DRc, LF, Llp, Ob, Ojc

Heare me O God (consort song adapted from Pavan on Four Notes, text by B. Jonson), Tr, 4 viols; D, FP [arr. for 1v, lute; S]

In depth no man remembreth thee (devotional song), 5vv, 16147; ed. in EECM, xi (1970)

In thee, O Lord, I put my trust (devotional song), 4 Tr, 16147; ed. in EECM, xi (1970)

O Lord, come pittie my distresse (devotional song), 5vv, 16147; ed. in EECM, xi (1970)


unless otherwise stated, for 1 voice and bass (except songs in 1609); sources of texts shown in parentheses

Ayres, 1, 2vv, lute, b (London, 1609) [1609]

All yee forsaken lovers come, S [music as for Doe but consider this small dust]

Come away, come away (Jonson, Masque of Blackness, 1605), 1609, F

Come home, my troubled thoughts, 1609, F

Come my Celia, let us prove (Jonson, Volpone, 1605), 1609, F

Deere, when to thee, 1609, F

Doe but consider this small dust (Jonson, The Houre-Glasse), GB-CL[music as for All yee forsaken lovers come; see Doughtie, 1969]

Drowne not with teares, 1609, F

Faine I would but O I dare not, 1609, F

Fayre cruell Nimph (A Dialogue between a Shepheard and a Nimph), 2vv, 1609, F

Fly from the world, 1609, F

Gentle knights (Jonson, Oberon, 1611), S

Had those that dwell in error foule (Jonson, Masque of Beauty, 1608), 1609, F

Heaven, since thou art the only place of rest, S

How neere to good is what is faire (Jonson, Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly, 1611), S

I am a lover (J. de Montemayor, trans. B. Young), 1609, F

If all the ages of the earth (Jonson, Masque of Queens, 1609), 1609, F

If all these cupids (2p. It was no pollicie of court; 3p. Yes, were the loves) (Jonson, Masque of Beauty, 1608), 1609, F

Like hermit poore (P. Desportes, trans. ?W. Raleigh), 1609, F

Loe in a vale there sat a shepherdess, S

Nay, nay, you must not stay (Jonson, Oberon, 1611), S

O eyes, O mortall starres (B. Guarini), 1609, F [music as for Occhi, stelle mortali]

O what a fault (Jonson, Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly, 1611), S

Say shepheard boy (A Dialogue), 2vv, S

Senses by unjust force banished (?for Jonson, Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly, 1611), S

Shall I seeke to ease my griefe?, 1609, F

Sing wee then heroyque grace (2p. Sing the riches of his skill; 3p. Sing the nobles of his race), 1609, F [in praise of James I]

So beautie on the waters stood (Jonson, Masque of Beauty, 1608), 1609, F

So, so, leave off (J. Donne, The Expiration), 1609, F

Tell me O Love (A Dialogue between a Shepheard and a Nimph), 2vv, 1609, F

Unconstant love, 1609, F

Was I to blame?, S

What shall I wish? (A Dialogue), 2vv, 1609, F

Why stayes the bridegroome (Jonson, The Haddington Masque, 1608), 1609, F

With what new thoughts?, 1609, F

Young and simple though I am (T. Campion), 1609, F

Eterni numi (Guarini, Il pastor fido), S

Lacrimar sempre il mio sommo diletto, S

Occhi, stelle mortali (Guarini), Ob [music as for O eyes, O mortall starres]

O crudel Amarilli (Guarini, Il pastor fido), S

Udite lagrimosi spirti d’Averno (Guarini, Il pastor fido), S


Madrigalette for 4 voices in GB-Lbl Eg.3665 (facs. in RMF, vii, 1988): A la mia Filli avanti, SSAT; Al suon d' una sampogna, SSSS; Amarilli mia bella (Guarini), SSAT; Amor tien il suo regno, SSAA; Arde ogn' hora il cor lasso, SSAT; Canzonette [d'amore] che m'uscite, SSSA; Con la fronte fiori[ta], SSAT; Datemi morte o cara Filli mia, SSAT; Ditemi la mia stella, SSAA; Gitene canzonett'al mio bel sole, SSAA; Hor ch'io son giunto, SSAA; In un boschetto (2p. Diss'alhor il Pastor), SSAA; Madonna mia gentile, SSAT; Mentre humil verginella, SSAA; Non dubitar ben mio, SSAA; Non ti ricordi quando, SSSS; O liete piant' herbette, SSAA; O tu che mi dai pene, SSSA; Solo fra mille amanti, SSAT; Su questi fior t'aspetto, SSAT; Voglio cantar e sonar, SSSA; Voi sete la mia stella, SSSA


VdGS indicates numbering system in DoddI

lyra viol

Lessons for 1. 2. and 3. Viols (London, 1609):

13 alman-coranto pairs, 1 lyra viol; 1 alman, 1 coranto in D (5 almans also found in versions for 5 viols, VdGS 4, 5, 6, 9, 10)

3 alman-coranto pairs, 2 lyra viols (1 alman also found in version for 5 viols, VdGS 8; corantos arr. from versions for 1 lyra viol)

Fantasia, 3 lyra viols; D (also found in version for 4 viols, VdGS 13)

7 galliard-coranto pairs, 1 lyra viol

3 galliard-coranto pairs, 2 lyra viols; 1 galliard in D (corantos arr. from versions for 1 lyra viol)

5 pavan-coranto pairs, 1 lyra viol (2 pavans also found in versions for 5 viols, VdGS 1, 9)

Pavan, 3 lyra viols (also found in version for 5 viols, VdGS 3)

3 preludes, 1 lyra viol

Alman, 2 lyra viols (VdGS 199), GB-Ob (also found in version for 5 viols, VdGS 10)

Pavan, 1 lyra viol (VdGS 146), Ob

other instrumental

9 almans, 5 viols/vn, GB-Lbl, Ob, Och, some inc.; FP, 1 in D

2 almans, 6 wind insts, Cfm, inc.; FP

4 almans, 3 viols/vn, Och, US-NH (3 are arrs. of almans for 5 viols, VdGS 1, 3, 4)

Alman, tr, b viol, J. Playford: A Breefe Introduction to the Skill of Musick (London, 1654) (arr. of alman for 5 viols, VdGS 1)

Aria, 4 insts, bc, 162119 (arr. of alman for 5 viols, VdGS 10); ed. B. Thomas, Thomas Simpson: Taffel-Consort (1621) (London, 1988)

9 pavans, 5 viols/vn (incl. Dovehouse Pavan, VdGS 1; Pavan on Four Notes, VdGS 4, also adapted as consort song, Heare me O God; Pavan on Seven Notes, VdGS 8), IRL-Dm, GB-Ckc, Lbl, Ob, Och; FP, 2 in D

21 fantasias, 4 viols; AB, 2 in D

9 fantasias, 6 viols, IRL-Dm, GB-Lbl, Och; FP, 1 in D

3 In Nomines, 6 viols, IRL-Dm, GB-Lbl, Och, 1 inc.; FP, 2 in D

3 In Nomines, 5 viols, IRL-Dm, GB-Ckc, Lbl, Lcm, Ob, Och, US-Sm; FP, 1 in D

Sound out my voyce, division viol, GB-Ob Mus.Sch.D.246–7 (2 diminution settings of Palestrina: Vestiva i colli; ascribed to ‘Alfonso’; presumably by Alfonso (ii)); 1 set ed. G. Dodd, Viola da Gamba Society, suppl. pubn no.128

Ut re mi fa sol la (2p. La sol fa mi re ut), 4 viols, IRL-Dm, F-Pc, GB-Ckc, Lbl, Ob, Och, Y; FP, 1p. ed. E. Walker, MA, iii (1911–12), 65–73, esp. 70–73, 2p. in D

Ut re mi fa sol la (2p. La sol fa mi re ut), 5 viols, Lbl, Lcm, Och (arr. of version for 4 viols); FP, 1p. also ed. in Lowinsky, 2p. in D [attrib. by Lowinsky to Alfonso Dalla Viola but by Ferrabosco]

doubtful or misattributed works

Fuerunt mihi lacrymae, 4vv (ascribed to ‘Alfonso Ferabosco senior’ in GB-Lbl Eg.3665, and now reassigned to Alfonso (i); see Charteris, 1990)

Rorate coeli, 2 Tr, B (ascribed ‘A. Ferabosco junior’, CL, and to ‘Alfonso Ferabosco’ in Och Mus.623; ?perhaps by Alfonso (iii))

Sanctus (ascribed ‘Ferrabosco’ in Cp 44; identical with Sanctus, F, 4vv, by (b) John Ferrabosco)

Let it be thy pleasure (anthem, inc.; Daniel and le Huray give source as Ob Tenbury 1023, but not traced there)

Say God should sende us on a persecution, 4vv, Och 750–53, 1074–7 (contrafactum of (1) Domenico Maria Ferrabosco: Io mi son giovinetta, ascribed to ‘Ferabosco’; wrongly attrib. Alfonso (ii) in Daniel and le Huray, following Arkwright, 1912–13)

Fantasia, 4 viols (VdGS 24); AB (ascribed to ‘Alfonso Ferrabosco’ in F-Pc F.770)

Untitled work, ?5 viols, GB-Lbl Add.29366–8, inc. (probably a textless motet, ascribed to ‘Allfonso Ferabosco’ followed by Alfonso (ii): Laboravi in gemitu meo, textless)

anonymous but possibly by alfonso (ii)

Prelude, 1 lyra viol (VdGS 179), GB-Ob

Alman, pavan, galliard, coranto, 2 lyra viols (VdGS 195–8), Ob

Alman, pavan, 2 corantos, 3 lyra viols (VdGS 121–4), Lbl, Ob, Och

O sacrum convivium, division viol, Ob Mus.Sch.D.246–7 (diminution of Tallis: O sacrum convivium)

Ut re mi fa sol la, 6 viols, IRL-Dm Z3.4.7–12 (see Pinto, 1999); FP

Vidi pianger madonna, division viol, GB-Ob Mus.Sch.D.246 (diminution of madrigal by Alfonso Ferrabosco (i))

Ferrabosco: (5) Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii)


AshbeeR, i, iii–vi, viii





MGG1 (R. Donington)

E. Thoinan: Maugars, célèbre joueur de viole … : sa biographie suivie de sa ‘Response faite à un curieux sur le sentiment de la musique d'Italie’ (Paris, 1865/R)

G.E.P. Arkwright: ‘Alfonso Ferrabosco, the Younger’, Studies in Music, ed. R. Grey (London, 1901/R), 199–214

G.E.P. Arkwright: ‘Notes on the Farrabosco Family’, MA, iii (1911–12), 220–28; iv (1912–13), 42–54, 119–20, 142, 260 only

C.H. Herford and P. and E. Simpson, eds.: Ben Jonson (Oxford, 1925–52)

R. Vaught: The Fancies of Alfonso Ferrabosco II (diss., Stanford U., 1958)

R. Vaught: ‘Mersenne's Unknown English Viol Player’, GSJ, xvii (1964), 17–23

E.E. Lowinsky: ‘Echoes of Adrian Willaert's Chromatic “Duo” in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Compositions’, Studies in Music History: Essays for Oliver Strunk, ed. H. Powers (Princeton, NJ, 1968), 183–238; repr. in MCR, ii, 699–729

E. Doughtie: ‘Ferrabosco and Jonson's “The Houre-Glasse”’, Renaissance Quarterly, xxii (1969), 148–50

E. Doughtie, ed.: Lyrics from English Airs, 1596–1622 (Cambridge, MA, 1970)

R.T. Daniel and P. le Huray: The Sources of English Church Music 1549–1660, EECM, suppl.i (1972)

I. Spink: English Song: Dowland to Purcell (London, 1974, repr. 1986 with corrections)

J. Lejeune: ‘Alfonso Ferrabosco II et ses oeuvres pour lyra-viol’, RBM, xxviii–xxx (1974–6), 128–35

G. Dodd: ‘Alfonso Ferrabosco II: the Art of the Fantasy’, Chelys, vii (1977), 47–53

M. Chan: Music in the Theatre of Ben Jonson (Oxford, 1980)

J. Duffy: The Songs and Motets of Alfonso Ferrabosco, the Younger (1575–1628) (Ann Arbor, 1980)

C. Monson: Voices and Viols in England, 1600–1650: the Sources and the Music (Ann Arbor, 1982)

M. Hofman and J. Morehen: Latin Music in British Sources, c1485–c1610, EECM, suppl.ii (London, 1987)

J.M. Ward: ‘Newly Devis’d Measures for Jacobean Masques’, AcM, lx/2 (1988), 111–42

A. Otterstedt: Die englische Lyra-Viol: Instrument und Technik (Kassel, 1989)

R. Charteris: ‘“Fuerunt mihi lacrymae”: Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder or the Younger?’, Essays on Italian Music in the Cinquecento, ed. R. Charteris (Sydney,1990), 113–30

P. Holman: ‘“An Addicion of Wyer Stringes beside the Ordenary Stringes”: the Origin of the Baryton’, Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought, ed. J. Paynter and others (London, 1992), ii, 1098–115

I. Spink, ed.: The Blackwell History of Music in Britain, iii: The Seventeenth Century (Oxford, 1992)

P. Holman: Four and Twenty Fiddlers: the Violin at the English Court 1540–1690 (Oxford, 1993, 2/1995)

L. Hulse: ‘Apollo's Whirligig: William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle and his Music Collection’, The Seventeenth Century, ix (1994) 213–46

B. Bellingham: ‘Convention and Transformation in Ferrabosco's Four-Part Fantasias’, John Jenkins and his Time: Studies in English Consort Music, ed. A. Ashbee and P. Holman (Oxford, 1996), 111–35

C.D.S. Field: ‘Jenkins and the Cosmography of Harmony’, ibid., 1–74

P. Walls: Music in the English Courtly Masque 1604–1640 (Oxford, 1996)

B. Bellingham: ‘Alfonso Ferrabosco II: the Art of the Fantasia’, Chelys, xxvi (1998), 1–25

A. Otterstedt: ‘Lawes's Division Viol: Pedigree of an Instrument’, William Lawes (1602–1645): Essays on his Life, Times and Work, ed. A. Ashbee (Aldershot, 1998), 307–39

L. Pike: Hexachords in Late-Renaissance Music (Aldershot, 1998)

C.D.S. Field: ‘The Composer's Workshop: Revisions in the Consort Music of Alfonso Ferrabosco the Younger’, Chelys, xxvii (1999), 1–39

D. Pinto: ‘Marsh, Mico and Attributions’, Chelys, xxvii (1999), 40–58


(6) John Ferrabosco

(b Greenwich, bap. 9 Oct 1626; d Ely, bur. 15 Oct 1682). English organist and composer, youngest son of (5) Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii). During the Civil War he seems to have served as a musician to Charles I: he was paid £5 on 30 July 1646 and and a further £4 on 26 April 1649, three months after the king's execution. In 1662 he became organist and master of the choristers of Ely Cathedral. One of his early tasks was to copy new music books for the choir, for which he was paid £10 in June 1663; two organ-books and a tenor partbook mainly in his hand survive (GB-Cu Ely 1, 4, 28). He was also reimbursed by the Chapter in connection with ‘several music meetings’ between 1663 and 1665. His full anthem The king shall rejoice was probably composed for Charles II's visit to Ely Cathedral in 1669 (Spink). In that year Ferrabosco relinquished his duties as master of the choristers; he continued as the cathedral organist, but is said to have lost his sight towards the end of his life. The MusB was conferred on him by the University of Cambridge in 1671, at the king's request. On 28 June 1679 he married Anne Burton at Trinity Church, Ely.

Ferrabosco was an assiduous and practical composer for the restored Church of England liturgy, if not a strikingly imaginative one. Much of his music has come down to us in a defective state because of the loss of partbooks. 18th-century scores exist of some of his services, however, and the fully written-out autograph organ parts of his verse anthems reveal much about their texts (invariably from the Psalms), scoring (boy soloists were evidently being used at Ely by the mid-1660s) and style (generally conservative). Ferrabosco supplied the repertory with services for Morning and Evening Prayer and Holy Communion in a wide choice of keys, using the old device of the head-motif to give an effect of unity between canticles. The full service in C, of which only the tenor part survives, was unusual in being almost entirely in triple time. His communion services customarily comprise the Sanctus (which at Ely seems to have been sung immediately after the opening collect), responses to the Ten Commandments, doxology before the Gospel (‘Glory be to thee, O Lord’), and Creed. The Burial Service, a comprehensive liturgical setting that begins with the sentences sung ‘upon meeting the Corps entering in Procession’ and ends with the anthem ‘sung at the Grave’, is a work of simple and sombre dignity.



Morning, Communion, Evening, a (TeD, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc), 4vv, GB-Ckc, Cu, Ob [San, Ky, Cr inc.]

Morning, Communion, Evening, B (TeD, Bte, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc ), 4vv, Ckc, Cu, Lbl, Ob [Bte inc.]

Morning, Communion, Evening, C, ‘Triple’ (TeD, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc), Cu, inc.

Morning, Communion, Evening, D, ‘Verse sharpe’ (TeD, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc), Cu, DRc, Ob, Y [TeD, Jub, San, Ky, Cr inc.]

Morning, Communion, Evening, e (TeD, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc), Cu, Ob, inc.

Morning, Communion, Evening, F (TeD, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc), Cu, inc.

Morning, Communion, Evening, G (TeD, Jub; San, Ky, Cr; Mag, Nunc), Cu, inc.

Evening, C, ‘Verse’ (Mag, Nunc), Cu, inc.

Burial, g (1. I am the resurrection and the life, I know that my Redeemer liveth, We brought nothing into this world; 2. Man that is born of a woman, In the midst of life, Thou knowest, Lord; 3. I heard a voice from heaven), 4vv, Ckc, Cu, Lbl, Ob

Kyrie, g, 4vv (for a service by George Barcroft), Cu

Sanctus, F, 4vv, Cp, Cu

Sanctus, G, Cu, inc.


Behold now, praise the Lord, verse, 1 or 2 Tr, Cu, inc.

Be thou exalted, Lord [see The King shall rejoice]

Blessed is the man, verse, 2 Tr, B, Cu, inc.

Bow down thine ear, Cu, WB, inc.

By the waters of Babylon, verse, Tr, B, Cu, DRc, inc.

I will sing a new song, verse, Tr, B, Cu, DRc, inc.

Let God arise, verse, B, Cu, inc [choruses, 4vv, by Ferrabosco added to psalm by W. Lawes for B, bc]

Like as the hart, verse, Tr, B, Cu, WB, inc.

O lord our governor, verse, 2 meanes, B, Cu, inc.

The king shall rejoice (2p. Be thou exalted, Lord), 4vv, Cu, Ob, US-BEm, inc.

The Lord hear thee, verse, T, GB-Cu, US-BEm, inc.

The Lord is my strength, verse, 2 meanes, GB-Cu, inc.


Suite (alman, corant, saraband), hpd, Och


AshbeeR, iii, viii


W.E. Dickson: A Catalogue of Ancient Choral Services and Anthems, Preserved among the Manuscript Scores and Partbooks in the Cathedral Church of Ely (Cambridge, 1861)

J.B. Clark: Transposition in Seventeenth-Century English Organ Accompaniments and the Transposing Organ (Detroit, 1974)

I. Cheverton: English Church Music of the Early Restoration Period, 1660–c.1676 (diss., U. of Wales, Cardiff, 1984)

H. Watkins Shaw: The Succession of Organists of the Chapel Royal and the Cathedrals of England and Wales from c.1538 (Oxford, 1991)

I. Spink: Restoration Cathedral Music 1660–1714 (Oxford, 1995)

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