The anthem for this week's webcast is Francis Poulenc's setting of the well-known Marian antiphon Salve Regina, written in 1941.
Poulenc underwent something of a religious awakening in the mid-1930s putatively as a result of the coincidence of two events in 1936: the accidental death of his friend and fellow composer, Pierre-Octave Ferroud and a visit to the ancient sanctuary of Rocamadour. Recounting this period, he said: "A few days earlier I'd just heard of the tragic death of my colleague ... As I meditated on the fragility of our human frame, I was drawn once more to the life of the spirit. Rocamadour had the effect of restoring me to the faith of my childhood." He began writing his Litanies à la Vierge noire for female voices and organ the very night of this visit.