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date: 18 October 2019

Adam of St Victorlocked

  • Margot E. Fassler

Extract

(d St Victor, Paris, 1146). French writer of sequences. Previously thought to have died late in the 12th century but now known to have been active much earlier in the century, he was a seminal figure in the development of the sequence repertory. The first document with a probable reference to Adam is a charter of 1098 in which a ‘Subdeacon Adam’ appears among the signatories from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. By 1107 he had risen through the ecclesiastical ranks to become Precentor; he signed his name ‘Adam Precentor’ throughout his life, even after he left the cathedral for the Abbey of St Victor in about 1133. He was a member of the reform party in Paris, who, with the support of the Augustinians at St Victor, attempted to impose the Rule of St Augustine upon the canons of Notre Dame; it was doubtless the failure of this attempted reform that prompted Adam's departure for St Victor. Adam worked with many influential figures: he would have been a colleague of Peter Abelard during his early years as cantor; he certainly knew and probably collaborated with the famous theologian Hugh of St Victor; and he may have taught Albertus Parisiensis, the man who succeeded him as cantor at the cathedral, and who is credited with a role in the development of the polyphonic innovations now attributed to Leoninus and his generation....

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Acta musicologica
Journal of the American Musicological Society