In 1941, midway between the Lenten motets and Figure humaine
, Poulenc composed Salve regina
. It has a sustained calm, never deviates from a simple four-part texture, and perhaps most strikingly, in an understated work, uses up the final nineteen bars intoning only the words ‘dulcis Virgo Maria’—dans le style d’une complainte
(an expression of grief, and perhaps still Poulenc’s grief at the Rocamadour shrine for his friend Ferroud?).
from notes by Meurig Bowen © 2008