ADAM DE LA HALLE (1245 - 1288)
A trouvère poet and composer, Adam de la Halle—sometimes known as Adam le Bossu (‘Adam the Hunchback’), although he disclaimed such a sobriquet, was a native of Arras but educated in Paris. He was in the service of Charles of Anjou and visited Italy on several occasions. The suggested later date for his death is derived from the mention of an ‘Adam le Boscu’ in accounts of the coronation of the English King Edward II in 1307.
Adam de la Halle is remembered in particular for his three dramatic works, of which the pastoral Jeu de Robin et de Marion is the best known, with its mixture of speech and song. The Jeu d’Adam combines various elements, inviting comparison with Chaucer or Boccaccio. His compositions include monophonic chansons and jeux-partis (a form of dialogue in which one singer answers the question proposed by another), three-part rondeaux and motets. It is unusual to find a composer of this period writing both monophonic and polyphonic works.