Domenico Ferrabosco

  • Born
    14th February 1513
  • Died
    February 1574
  • Birthplace
    Bologna, Italy
Domenico Maria Ferrabosco (Ferabosco) was an Italian composer and singer of the Renaissance, and the eldest musician in a large prominent family from Bologna. He spent his career both in Bologna and Rome. His surviving music is all vocal, consisting of madrigals and motets, although he is principally known for his madrigals, which musicologist Alfred Einstein compared favorably to those of his renowned contemporary Cipriano de Rore. Ferrabosco published only one book of his works, a large collection of 45 madrigals for four voices in 1542 (by Antonio Gardano in Venice). They were similar in style to the early madrigals by Jacques Arcadelt, Philippe Verdelot, and Costanzo Festa. Alfred Einstein praised the book, saying of Ferrabosco's art: "His work lasts, because he has access to a form of expression which was completely closed to Cipriano de Rore, namely the expression of the graceful and the attractive."Regarding the music itself he adds: "...homophony is enlivened by light polyphony and reflects a noble sentimentality which is not easily disturbed in its spiritual equilibrium." Unlike Rore, who was the most innovative madrigalist of mid-century, as well as one of the most famous, Ferrabosco was content to write in the style of the pioneers of the 1530s, such as Verdelot, in a light and graceful manner, avoiding the chromaticism and expressive intensity that defined the mid-century madrigal. Yet his music appears alongside Rore's, for example in that composer's second madrigal book for five voices (1544) which includes Ferrabosco's setting of the sonnet Più d'alto Pin ch'in mezz'un'orto sia.

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