Franz Schubert

Seligkeit in E major

D433 • “Freuden sonder Zahl!”

About this work

Naturally, Schubert's setting of Ludwig Hölty's Seligkeit (Blessedness) (D. 433) in May 1816 is a waltz. How else would a Viennese depict heaven except as a waltz? But just how serious is Schubert about his waltz? Hölty's three verses are set strophically to music that is almost too delightfully charming, so delightfully charming that one thinks perhaps Schubert is very gently poking fun at his sentimental Viennese neighbors' view of heaven as a place where everyone dances and sings. Indeed, when in the third verse the poet declares that if some sweet young thing named Laura smiles at him, he'd rather stay on earth, one gets the sense that, given the choice, so would the 19-year-old Schubert.