Anthony Holborne

Anthony Holborne (?1545 - 1602) described himself as ‘gentleman and servant to her most excellent Majestie’ (Elizabeth 1) and may have been educated at Cambridge University and the Inner Temple*. Like many musicians of his age he had noble patrons to whom his music was often dedicated. He wrote music for viol consort, mixed consort, the cittern, the bandora and the lute (Edwards, accessed 12/09/2005)

A modern edition of Holborne’s lute, bandora and cittern music (in tablature and grand staff notation) has been compiled Masakata Kanazawa (1967,1973). More recently Rainer aus dem Spring (2001) has published a lute tablature edition of the lute and bandora music that takes account of more recent scholarship in attributing some extra pieces to Holborne.

This page contains both lute and bandora music. Holborne’s bandora pieces constitute the biggest collection of extant solo pieces for this instrument by any composer, though aus dem Spring comments as follows: “Taking into account the number and quality of pieces it is clear that Holborne was the most important composer for the bandora. However this music survives (with a few exceptions) in Dd.2.11 only. We will probably never know if Holmes adapted lute music to the bandora...or if Holborne really wrote a substantial body of music for the bandora.”

Bandora Fantasia 1 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Holborne Grade 07
This piece is found in the Matthew Holmes manuscript Dd.2.11 as a bandora solo and in three other sources as a lute solo. It is not uncommonly arranged for guitar; my arrangement is derived from the bandora version.

Bandora Fantasia 3 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Holborne Grade 08
This is also found as Lute Fantasia 2 

Bandora Fantasia 4 [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Holborne Grade 08

Bandora Pavan 1 (Last Will and Testament)  [PDF] [MIDI[XML] Holborne Grade 07
This pavan is found as a bandora solo and in several versions as a lute solo. This arrangement is made from the bandora version.

Bandora Pavan 5 [PDF] [MIDI[XML] Holborne Grade 06 
This pavan is a version by Holborne of a pavan by John Johnson (also a lutenist in the service of Queen Elizabeth, and the father of Robert Johnson). The Johnson pavan is found in several sources and this bandora version is found in the Matthew Holmes collection at Cambridge University. There is an existing guitar version of both this piece and the Johnson pavan in “The Lute Works of John Johnson”, Ed. John M Ward (Editions Orphée). Tablature versions are to be found in the sources mentioned above, both Masakata Kanazawa and Rainer aus dem Spring have the piece. The latter version has been corrected from lute sources and I have used this for my arrangement. A direct transcription to the guitar would put the piece in G. Like Ward I have chosen to make the arrangement in A; this has necessitated minor changes to the voicing of some chords and one or two bass notes are in changed octaves.

The Countess of Pembroke's Paradise [PDF] [MIDI] [XML]  Holborne Grade 06
This lute Pavan is one of two pieces by Holborne dedicated to the Countess of Pembroke (the other,The Contess of Pembrokes Funeral(s) is said by Grove to commemorate three deaths in the family). I find this piece very beautiful and it is not too difficult to play. There is a good arrangement by the late John Duarte (Duarte 1979). However he notated it in a way that tries to ensure that all the voices are continually present which produces an unnecessarily complicated layout; I have simplified this and made some other minor alterations.

The Night Watch [PDF] [MIDI[XML] Holborne Grade 06
This almain is found in both lute and bandora versions, and most often arranged from the lute version. This arrangement is derived from the bandora version.

Tres Choses [PDF] [MIDI] [XML] Holborne Grade 08
This bandora piece is a medley of three tunes, each with a varied repeat. The original would have sounded in C and a direct transcription to the guitar a fifth above, in G. I have made this arrangement in A, as bandora bass tuning makes a direct transcription to guitar tuning tricky to play A is easier. My source for this piece is the 
Kanazawa edition. Kanazawa points out that the piece is written on three grounds, the second and third being well known as the passamezzo moderno and the third as the romanesca. 

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*One of the four London ‘Inns of Court’ responsible for the training and regulation of the legal profession.

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