Pierre de Corbeil
- Andrew Hughes
- , revised by Randall Rosenfeld
(d Sens, 1222). French theologian and prelate . He was a master of theology at the University of Paris; his best-known pupil later became Pope Innocent III. Pierre received ecclesiastical preferment, becoming a canon of Notre Dame in Paris, Archdeacon of York (1198), Bishop of Cambrai (1199) and Archbishop of Sens (1200). He led the council at Paris in 1210 which forbade the public teaching and private reading of Aristotle's works on natural history. As archbishop Pierre was a respected familiar of King Philip Augustus. Of his works, including sermons and commentaries, very few have survived. An Office of the Assumption, used at Sens until the 17th century, and the Office for Circumcision are attributed to him.
It is on the latter that his musical reputation is founded. In 1198 Cardinal Peter of Capua, papal legate for France, addressed a letter to the Bishop and cathedral chapter of Paris concerning the Feast of Fools which traditionally took place on the Feast of Circumcision and which had become the focus for much abuse. This document, an attempt to regulate the celebration of the feast, sets guidelines including prescriptions for processions and the performance of liturgical items ‘in organo, vel triplo, vel quadruplo’. Reference to ‘quadruplo’ at once suggests the four-voice compositions of Parisian composers associated with Notre Dame. Other works of the Notre Dame repertory are, furthermore, associated with Sens; it seems possible that Pierre, who is named among the other members of the chapter, responded to the cardinal's letter by writing an Office for the Feast of Circumcision, and by taking the decrees on musical practice with him to Sens....