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Alfonso Ferrabosco (the younger)
c.1575 - 1628
Great Britain, England
A. Ferrabosco
the younger
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger (ca.1575 - 11/03/1628) was an English composer, violin player and lute player of Italian descent. Ferrabosco straddles in his instrumental music the line between the Renaissance and Baroque era. He was born at Greenwich as the illegitimate son of the Italian composer Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder (1543-1588) who worked and lived in England, London. Ferrabosco II was music-instructor to the Royal family 1601-1628. He wrote a lot of violin music, three volumes (1609) and he wrote songs for Ben Johnson (1572-1637), some sacred music is known.
Author:Wim Goossens
Fuerunt Mihi Lacrimae
Period:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1600c
Musical form:Motet a 4
Text/libretto:Latin Missa pro defunctis
Fuerunt mihi Lacrimae is a part of the former Tractus sung in the Ordinary out of the Mass of the Dead, Missa pro defunctis. This part is set by Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger (c.1575-1628). In general Requiem masses written by a lot of Netherlandish composers are made up of with different parts of the Ordinary of the Mass of the Dead, the texts of which remain essentially unchanged (Kyrie, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei), and of the Proper’s of the Requiem, Mass of the Dead whose texts do change according to the liturgical occasion. This was the normal liturgical practice in the region of northern Europe. Before the reforms of the Council of Trent (1543-1563) there were diverse alternative texts for the Proper’s of the Mass of the Dead in use which differs per region. Jacob Vaet uses the Tractus “Sicut servus” like Johannes Ockeghem (c.1420-1497), Pedro de Escobar (c.1465-aft.1535), Antoine de Févin (1473-1512), Benedictus Appenzeller (c.1480/88-aft.1558), Juan Vasquez (c.1510-1560) and Pierre de la Rue (1460-1518) did, but this Tractus is today out of use in the Ordinarium of the Missae pro defunctis. Only the “Absolve me” is still nowadays published in the Liber Usualis as the admitted one. In fact three version of a Tractus are known and used in the past: a. Absolve Domine b1. Sicut Cervus, sometimes b2. Sitivit anima mea c. De profundis. Nevertheless as we saw in several parts of Europe – it varies per region - the “Sitivit anima mea” was in use. See for instance the most complete setting by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594): Sicut Cervus as prima pars followed by secunda pars Sitivit anima mea and at least Fuerunt mihi. See other settings by Manual Cardoso (1566-1650, Pedro de Cristo (c.1540-1618) or by the Netherlander Antoine Divitis (c.1473 - c.1528) mentioned in his Missa pro fidelibus defunctis. Antoine Divitis starts the Tractus with Sitivit anima mea closed with Fuerunt mihi. But here we have a setting by Ferrabosco II, the second part of the Sitivit animae mea: Fuerunt mihi lacrimae. This part is written for four lower voices (TTBB) and contains 46 bars. This piece is written in imitative style and starts with Bass II, followed by Tenor I, Bass I and Tenor II. This music is due to the chosen pitch dark coloured and to underline the – mourning - text Ferrabosco II uses a lot of flats. This manuscript made by a copyist is found in containing works principally by Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder produced around 1600 and is preserved in the Christ Church Library, Oxford.
Author:Wim Goossens
Fuerunt mihi lacrimae meae panis die ac nocte:
dum dicitur mihi quotidie, Ubi est Deus tuus?

My tears have been my meat day and night:
while they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God?
Contributor:Wim Goossens