09 February 2018 - Choral Evensong

Recorded on
Friday, 9 February 2018

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.

Share this

Latest release

October 2019

In their first ever album dedicated solely to the Evening Canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge releases Magnificat, a celebration of their daily tradition of choral Evensong.

Latest news

It is with sadness that we announce that the Master of St John's College, Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, died on Sunday 8 September.

He is survived by his wife, Dr Mary Dobson, their sons, Richard and William, and his beloved dog, Jimbo. He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey. A full tribute to Sir Christopher can be viewed on the College website.

Choral singing comes no better

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer