Ferrabosco may sound Italian, but was born in Greenwich and never left the country. His father, of the same name, was Italian, and was a highly esteemed member of Elizabeth’s musical establishment; he married Susanna Symons and soon after the birth of their two children, they left for Italy. Elizabeth wouldn’t let the children follow their father, so they were brought up by another member of the court, Gomer van Awsterwyke. The young Alfonso eventually became himself a member of the court band with the position of ‘musitian for the violles’. He was to become one the most celebrated English viol players. He wrote six In nomines, three in 5 and three in 6 parts, and none is more characteristic than the monumental In nomine through all the parts, where the cantus firmus, rather than being assigned just to one part and to notes of equal length, is moved down through the consort, from top to bottom, treble to bass and given rhythmic articulation.
from notes by Richard Boothby © 2019