September 1793 marked the beginning of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.
"The streets of Paris, strewed with the carcases of the mangled victims, are become so familiar to the sight, that they are passed by and trod on without any particular notice. The mob think no more of killing a fellow-creature, who is not even an object of suspicion, than wanton boys would of killing a cat or a dog".
As a member of Les Six, French composer Francis Poulenc was a member of the 1920s Parisian avante-garde. His famous opera Dialogues des Carmélites was set against the backdrop of The Terror. The tragic opera traces the martyrdom of sixteen Carmélites that refused to dissolve their convent. Poulenc wrote a beautiful and soaring score that often challenged his listeners. For example, he used percussion effects to inspire fear, most unforgettably in the slicing, terminal sounds of the guillotine at opera's end. In 1902, the nuns were declared Venerable, the first step towards Sainthood.