SCHUBERT, Franz (1797-1828). Autograph music manuscript signed ('Schubert'), Vienna, 11 February 1816, 'Das Grab', D.377, a setting for male choir (TTBB) and piano of the text by Johann Gaudenz von Salis-Seewis (1762-1834), notated on three systems of two staves, the text of the first stanza between and below the staves, title in autograph with the indication 'Sehr langsam. Chor', noting at the conclusion the the author's name ('Salis'), old page numbering ('S.73') in another hand to the upper left corner, one page, oblong 8vo (118 x 227mm) (minor spotting, crease at left margin), laid down on paper and mount; with an engraved portrait. Provenance: purchased from Walter R. Benjamin Autographs, New York, catalogue 753, February-March 1959.
Between 1815 and 1819 Schubert composed no fewer than five settings (one incomplete) for Salis-Seewis's meditation on the grave and the 'unknown land' that lies beyond -- testimony to its almost obsessive appeal to the melancholic side of the composer's character. Each setting is for choir rather than solo voice: this, the third setting, is perhaps the most deeply melancholic of all. The Thematisches Verzeichnis (ed. Deutsch, 1978, pp. 225-6) records a draft and copy of the song in the Wiener Stadtbibliothek (MH.407/c) in addition to the present manuscript, which it describes as 'lost'.