Farnaby, Giles (1563 – 1640)

Farnaby, together with William Byrd, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, Peter Philips and Thomas Tomkins, is considered one of the great English virginalists. It was his cousin Nicholas Farnaby, who may have turned him to music. Nicholas was a virginal maker, at this time a generic word that included the entire family of plucked keyboard instruments: the harpsichord, virginal, muselar and doubtless the clavichord. Unlike the others however, he is the only one not to have been a professional musician.  Like his father, Giles trained as a joiner or cabinet-maker, starting his apprenticeship in about 1583, and gave this trade as his occupation for most of his life.

He graduated from Christ Church, Oxford on 7 July 1592, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in music. This was the very same day that John Bull, obtained his degree: Bull evidently knew Farnaby, and influenced his musical style considerably.

In 1602 the family moved to Aisthorpe in Lincolnshire, where they remained until at least 1610. Farnaby obtained a position in the household of Sir Nicholas Saunderson of Fillingham, as music teacher to his children. By 1614 the Farnabys had returned to London, registered at Grub Street, Cripplegate in 1634, where Giles died in 1640 and was buried on 25 November. (source: Wikipedia)


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Music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book is a primary source of keyboard music from the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods in England, i.e., the late Renaissance and very early Baroque. It takes its name from Viscount Fitzwilliam who bequeathed this manuscript collection to Cambridge University in 1816. It is now deposited in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. Although the word virginals or virginal (the plural form does not necessarily denote more than one instrument) is used today to refer to a specific instrument similar to a small, portable harpsichord, at the time of the book the word was used to denote virtually any keyboard instrument including the organ.

It was given no title by its copyist and the ownership of the manuscript before the eighteenth century is unclear. At the time the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book was put together most collections of keyboard music were compiled by performers: other examples include Will Forster’s Virginal BookClement Matchett’s Virginal Book, and Anne Cromwell’s Virginal Book. Until Parthenia was printed in about 1612, there was no keyboard music published as such in England, because of the technical complexity of printing keyboard music as opposed to, for example, vocal parts.

It was once called Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal Book, a title that has been abandoned because it has been determined that she never owned it, Another hypothesis, which still has supporters, is that it belonged to Francis Tregian the Younger, a recusant and amateur musician. It has been argued that Tregian may have copied the entire collection while imprisoned in the period leading up to his death in 1618. The nature of Tregian’s contribution to the book, if any, has been disputed. Recent scholarship suggests that even if Tregian is the compiler, it is unlikely that he was imprisoned long enough to do the copying involved.

It includes 297 separate pieces of music dating from approximately 1562 to 1612 by John Bull, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Giles Farnaby (51 of whose 52 known pieces are included), Martin Peerson, Peter Philips and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, as well as many others. As with many keyboard manuscripts of the time, the pieces were not written for a specific instrument, and most sound happily on all contemporary keyboard instruments, including virginals, harpsichord, clavichord and chamber organ. (source: Wikipedia)

And brass…


His Dreame
BB BE 040212 – $28.00
1′ 20″ – medium

arranged by Michael Allen for (323.11) – Trumpet in B flat, 2 Flugelhorns, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba


His Humour
BB BE 040211 – $28.00
1′ 20″ – advanced

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11) – Piccolo, Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat, Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba, optional percussion


Mal Sims
BB BE 040209 – $28.00
1′ 30″ – advanced

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11) – Piccolo, Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat, Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba, optional percussion


The Olde Spagnoletta
BB BE 040210 – $28.00
1′ 00″ – medium

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11) – Piccolo, Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat, Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba, optional percussion


Tell Me, Daphne
BB BE 040213 – $28.00
1′ 20″ – medium

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11) – Piccolo, Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat, Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba, optional percussion


A Toye
BB BE 040214 – $28.00
1′ 15″ – advanced

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11) – Piccolo, Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat, Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba, optional percussion


Second Elizabethan Suite
BB BE 070804 – $75.00
8′ 00″ – difficult

Includes the 6 titles above (Mal Sims, The Olde Spagnoletta, His Dreame, His Humour, Tell Mee Daphne, A Toye) organized into a concert suite. 6 for the price of 3!

arranged by Michael Allen for Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat (doubling Piccolo), Trumpet in B flat (doubling Flugelhorn), Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Percussion (optional)