John Farmer Biography

John Farmer was a great music composer in his short career span. Read this biography to find more about the profile, childhood, life and timeline of this famous musician.

Quick Facts

Born: 1570

Nationality: British

Famous: British Men Male Musicians

Died At Age: 31

Born in: England

Famous as: Composer

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Died on: 1601

City: Hertfordshire, England

More Facts

education: English Madrigal School

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John farmer was a renowned English musician who enjoyed a very productive career though it lasted only for about a decade (1591–1601). He is revered for his amazing musical skills and produced many masterpieces that are remembered for their extremely melodious compositions. He played a significant role in the growth of English madrigal, making it completely independent from its Italian heritage. His valuable musical contributions enriched many English music genres like consort song, English Psalter etc. He worked as an organist and contributed many inspiring compositions throughout his career. His works were proponents of his unparalleled musical skills. The facts about his life appear to be a little ambiguous, so does his death. His last known composition was made in 1601, after which he just vanished from the historical records. Here is a short biography on the childhood, profile and legacy of this famous English composer.

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Childhood And Early Life
John Farmer was born around 1570. He was in his early twenties, when he prefaced his first publication “Divers and Sundry Waies of Two Parts in One ... uppon One Playn Song” with a poem in 1591 and claimed his youthfulness with it. This publication is a collection of 40 canonic pieces written by him, which showcase his exceptional contrapuntal skills even at such a young age. Farmer dedicated this work to his patronEdward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. This work was a great success and led Thomas East, a publisher, to take note of his skills and collaborate with him on a new English Psalter in 1592.

Career
Farmer got his first job in 1595. He was appointed as an organist and ‘master of boys’ at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. He worked as an organist in the St. Patrick’s Church during the same time and this gave him additional income. However, things changed and he was apparently dismissed from the job in 1599. However, he was interested in moving to London and settling there. While in London, in 1599, he published his work ‘First Book of English Madrigals’. This book, again, was dedicated to his patron the Earl of Oxford. Critics evaluate this work as a combination of two different styles of madrigals – the lighter style of Morley and the more serious styles corresponding to Weelkes and Wilbys. Farmer penned several madrigals in his lifetime and many of them appeared in prominent anthologies of 1590s. He contributed one of his major works, and a fine madrigal, to the multi-author collection of madrigals namely ‘Triumphs of Orianna’ which was edited by Morley and published in 1601. However, this is the last known fact about Farmer after which he completely vanished from the historical record. There is nothing known about his works and personal life after 1601.

Fair Phyllis
Fair Phyllis is a popular madrigal by Farmer. It has polyphonic music and was published in 1599. This madrigal narrates the story of a person who happened to see a shepherdess feeding her sheep near a mountain. She was all alone there, far from other shepherds. She was in love with a shepherd named Amyntas, who was searching for her and wandering through the mountains. Finally, he found her and kissed her out of happiness. This work turned out to be a great success, owing to its amazing lyrics and extremely pleasing music.

Honours
Giles Farnaby, a famous English composer of the Renaissance period, dedicated a pavan to Farmer, which was included in the ‘Fitzwilliam Virginal Book’ (primary source of keyboard music) as ‘Farmer's Paven’.

Important Works
  • Fair Phyllis I Saw Sitting All Alone
  • Fair Nymphs, I Heard One Telling
  • A Pretty Little Bonny Lass
  • Take Time While Time Doth Last

JOHN FARMER TIMELINE

c. 1570:

John Farmer was born.

1591:

He prefaced his first publication “Divers and Sundry Waies of Two Parts in One ... uppon One Playn Song” with a poem in which he showcases his youthfulness.

1592:

This work turned out to be a great success and Thomas East, a publisher, noted his skills and collaborated with him on a new English Psalter.

1595:

Farmer got his first job. He was appointed as an organist and ‘Master of Boys’ at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. He worked as an organist in the St. Patrick’s Church during the same time.

1599:

He moved to London and published his work ‘First Book of English Madrigals’. This book was dedicated to his patron, the Earl of Oxford.

1601:

He contributed his major work, a fine madrigal, to the multi-author collection of madrigals namely ‘Triumphs of Orianna’, edited by Morley.

How To Cite

Article Title
- John Farmer Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/john-farmer-445.php
Last Updated
- October 09, 2017

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