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Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence
Motets by Francis Poulenc
CatalogueFP 97
Composed1938 (1938)–39
ScoringSATB a cappella

Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence (Four Penitential Motets), FP 97, are four sacred motets composed by Francis Poulenc in 1938–39. He wrote them on Latin texts for penitence, scored for four unaccompanied voices.[1][2]

Structure and texts

The four motets are:[1]

  1. Timor et tremor
  2. Vinea mea electa
  3. Tenebrae factae sunt
  4. Tristis est anima mea

The text for the first motet, Timor et tremor (Great fear and trembling),[1] combines verses from psalms 54 and 30, which Orlando de Lassus had also set as a motet.[3] The other three motets are based on three responsories for the Holy Week:[3] "Vinea mea electa" (Vine that I loved as my own), a responsory for the matins of Good Friday, "Tenebrae factae sunt" (Darkness fell upon the Earth), a responsory for the matins of Holy Saturday, and "Tristis est anima mea" (Sad is my soul and sorrowful), a responsory for the matins of Maundy Thursday.[1]


Poulenc returned to sacred music first in 1937 when he composed the missa brevis Messe en sol majeur (Mass in G). He then wrote the four motets,[4] at different times. He wrote "Timor et tremor" last, in Noizay in January 1939, and dedicated it to Monsieur l'Abbé Maillet. He composed "Vinea mea electa" there in December 1938 and dedicated it to Yvonne Gouverné. "Tenebrae factae sunt" was the first of the four motets, written there in July, dedicated to Nadia Boulanger. Poulenc composed "Tristis est anima mea" in Paris in November 1938 and dedicated it to Ernest Bourmauck.[1] The motets are written for a mixed choir a cappella, at times further divided.[5]

The first performance was sung in February 1939, probably in Paris, by Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois, repeated in several churches in Paris during the Holy Week, according to a review by Claude Chamfray.[6]

Selected recordings

Recordings were made by the chamber choir Polyphony, conducted by Stephen Layton, by the Westminster Cathedral Choir, conducted by James O'Donnell, and by The Cambridge Singers, conducted by John Rutter, among others.[2] The Norwegian chamber choir Grex Vocalis, conducted by Carl Høgset, recorded the motets along with the Messe en sol majeur.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Schmidt 1995, p. 288.
  2. ^ a b Bowen 2008.
  3. ^ a b Schulz 2016.
  4. ^ a b Lace 2000.
  5. ^ Schmidt 1995, p. 289.
  6. ^ Schmidt 1995, p. 292.


  • Bowen, Meurig (2008). "Francis Poulenc (1899–1963): Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence (1938–39)". Hyperion Records. Retrieved 28 December 2016.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Lace, Ian (2000). "Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) / Libertè – Francis Poulenc a cappella". Retrieved 4 January 2016.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Schmidt, Carl B. (1995). The Music of Francis Poulenc (1899–1963): A Catalogue. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-816336-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Schulz, Ingo (2016). "Francis Poulenc (1899–1963): Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence (1938–39)" (in German). Retrieved 28 December 2016.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links

This page was last edited on 13 September 2020, at 03:50
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