Litanei auf das Fest aller Seelen

Franz Schubert

Litanei auf das Fest aller Seelen in Eb major

D343 • “Ruhn in Frieden alle Seelen”

About this work

It is impossible to say exactly how Schubert achieved the spiritual depth and the emotional profundity of his setting of Johann Jacobi's Am Tage aller Seelen (Litanei) (On All Soul's Day ) (D. 343) from August 1816. A single page of exquisitely wrought melody setting the three verses of Jacobi's poem as a strophic song, there is little about Am Tage aller Seelen which requires comment. The vocal melody is a seemingly effortless fusion of Italian bel canto and German innigkeit. The harmonies are for the most part simple but with a few suspensions and secondary dominants all articulated over smoothly moving arpeggiated triplets in the piano accompaniment. On paper, it looks like nothing special: but in performance Am Tage aller Seelen is one of the handful of the very greatest Schubert songs of quiet consolation and rapturous repose.