Skip to page content

About this Piece

French composer and pianist Francis Poulenc was a member of Les Six, a group of composers working in Paris in the first part of the twentieth century. Poulenc, who eschewed the daring harmonic language of his contemporary, Olivier Messiaen, once wrote, "I think there is room for new music which doesn't mind using other people's chords." However, he found a musical language that is easily recognizable in his numerous compositions, most notably his songs and choral music. While his early works tend toward lighter fare, he experienced a religious awakening after the death of a close friend, and his compositions began to reflect his renewed Catholicism.

Videntes stellem

When they saw the star,

Magi gavisi sunt gaudio magno:

the wise men were filled with great joy

et intrantes domum obtulerunt

and they went into the house.

Domino aurum

There to the Lord they offered gold,

thus et myrrham.

and frankincense and myrrh.