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Poulenc, Francis (1899–1963)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1099

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Poulenc, Francis (1899–1963). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


French composer. The accidental death of a friend led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1935. Thereafter he composed a number of religious works of which the first was Litanies to the Black Virgin of Rocamadour, 1936. His masterpiece was the Dialogue of the Carmelites (1956), an opera in three acts on the martyrdom of a group of nuns during the French Revolution for refusing to abjure their vows. The depth of his spirituality may be seen in the unaccompanied mass in G and other choral works, while the Stabat Mater (1950) and Gloria (1959) are grandiose in their fervor. Other unaccompanied choral works for the church include four penitential motets (Timor et tremor, Tenebrae factae sunt, Vinea mea electa, and Tristis est anima mea), an Exultate Deo, and a Salve Regina (1941) and four Christmas motets, O Magnum Mysterium, Quem Vidistes Pastores, Videntes Stellam, and Hodie Christus Natus est. His large-scale compositions include Stabat Mater (1950) and Sept Repons des Tenebres (Office for Holy Saturday, 1961).


  • poulenc, francis (1899–1963);
  • french composer;
  • dialogue of the carmelites