Adam de la Halle

If the pain of love were not so pleasant

Adam de la Halle:

Se li maus c'amours envoie

This is the most beautiful song I've ever heard.  It was recorded by the group Sequentia — Barbara Thornton (voice), Benjamin Bagby (harp) — in 1984. The composer, Adam de la Halle, or Adam le Bossu (Adam "the hunchback") lived from 1285 and 1288.  Much of the notation of his music is lost or unclear, and requires active (re)interpretation.

If the pain of love

Were not so pleasant,

One could never suffer through it

For very long without taking the road

To despair, or worse.

But it is such pleasing pain, 

And Love is so gentle,

And is the source of such noble thoughts,

That, in truth, it can be Paradise

For those who love truly. 

The hope of the joy

Of seeing her,

And Love's amaible manners

Encourage every suitor to hope

That he will gain favor,

Provided he will be happy

And eager to serve,

Only hoping for the best,

For no one is suitably enamoured

Who has not this resolve.

I would not for anything in the world

Want to believe that a true lover

Could ever be inconsistent,

Or that he could shrink from sufferings;

Provided his heart and desires

Are ever inclined towards that smiling face,

Those sweet, loving eyes,

And the noble bearing,

And all the goodness, honor and worthiness

Which have made him a prisoner.

For this is what soothes and restores

Those who are most patient in love;

And this is what compels them to sing,

In the hopes that Humility will intercede in their favor.

No advantage is accorded to the bold

Who love only as they see fit,

But steadfast lovers always prosper,

Heedful of their tasks:

Mercy favors them.

My lady, if I thought that I would live

For one hundred thousand years.

And even if you were no longer living,

I could never think of another;

You have so utterly enchanted me

That there will never arise in me anything but joy

At that place where my pure and devothed thoughts

Are fixed. This is my suffering,

And I shall die possessed by it,

I am certain.

O sweet month of May or April,

I am barred from entering that sweet place.

See that my song gets sung

There, and is attended. 


Tara Jane Oneil is an American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, audio recording engineer, and visual artist based out of Portland, Oregon. O'Neil has collaborated with a diverse community of friends and advisers, scoring theater productions and short films, playing improvised shows, and working with dancers and painters. Her previous bands include Rodan, Retsin (with Cynthia Nelson), The Sonora Pine, The King Cobra, and Drinking Woman. She has played live and on recordings with Mount Eerie, The Naysayer, Come, Mirah, Ida, Sebadoh, Jackie-O Motherfucker, K., Michael Hurley, Papa M, and Amy Ray. Solo she has released several albums as Tara Jane O'Neil, formed the Ecstatic Tambourine Orchestra, and crafted soundtracks for film and theater.

Ólöf Arnalds is an Icelandicsinger/songwriter and indie musician who has been active within the Icelandic music scene for quite some time. Apart from doing her own music as of lately and being a touring member of Múm since 2003, she has cooperated with bands and artists such as Stórsveit Nix Noltes, Mugison, Slowblow and Skúli Sverrisson. Between 1988 and 2002 Ólöf studied violin and classical singing, and in 2002-2006 she studied composition and new media at Iceland Academy of the Arts. In 2007 her debut album Við Og Við was released by 12 Tónar. The album features a set of songs performed mostly in a traditional troubadour style.

Adam de la Halle, also known as Adam le Bossu (Adam the Hunchback) (1237?-1288) was a French-born trouvère, poet and musician, whose literary and musical works include chansons and jeux-partis (poetic debates) in the style of the trouveres, polyphonic rondel and motets in the style of early liturgical polyphony, and a musical play, "The Play of Robin and Marion", which is considered the earliest surviving secular French play with music. He was a member of the Confrérie des jongleurs et bourgeois d'Arras.

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist, known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, and his Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony).

Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist who composed in the Romantic period. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt (which includes Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King), and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.

Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer and one of the most prominent living composers of sacred music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs a self-made compositional technique called tintinnabuli. His music also finds its inspiration and influence from Gregorian chant.