PETER ABELARD (1079 - 1142)
Distinguished as a philosopher, poet and musician, Peter Abelard is also remembered for his love affair with Héloïse and for the revenge taken on him by her uncle Canon Fulbert who had him castrated. Abelard became a monk and Héloïse a nun—eventually Abbess of the Convent of the Paraclete. Abelard’s teaching, as a philosopher and then as a theologian, was originally unauthorised and earned him official condemnation, the opposition of the Cistercian reformer Bernard of Clairvaux, and the support of the Abbot of Cluny.
Abelard’s love songs are lost, and from the hymn-book only one melody survives for O quanta qualia. There remain, however, a series of six Planctus (‘Laments’), including the lament of David on the death of Saul and Jonathan.