After Halloween: Music for All Saints' and All Souls' Days

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Saturday, November 02, 2013

This week, All Ears honors All Saints' and All Souls' Days, two religious holidays dating back to the Second Century A.D.  

The traditions of honoring saints and departed souls are aligned with but not limited to the Christian and Catholic faiths. In this program host Terrance McKnight dishes out musical examples of composers across various cultures and backgrounds who wrote music to honor the deceased.

Join the discussion: A few years ago on this holiday, McKnight asked listeners for musical suggestions. This episode includes some of those works. Which composer or artist would you say most needs intercession, and why? And please have fun with this!




I got a new name

Wendell Whalum

Morehouse College Glee Club



Sine Nomine (For All the Saints)

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Choir of Worchester Cathedral

Christopher Robinson, conductor


Hassidic Chant: Kaddish


Paul Robeson, baritone

Alan Booth, piano



Kaddish for Cello and Orchestra

David Diamond

Seattle Symphony

Gerard Schwarz

Janos Starker, cello



Threnody for Carlos Chavez

Lou Harrison

Gamelan Sekar Kembar

Susan Bates, violin



Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten

Arvo Part

Moscow Virtuosi

Vladimit Spivakov, conductor




Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin, vocals

Cyro Baptista, percussion

Blue Note


O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti

Hildegard of Bingen

Trinity College Choir, Cambridge

Richard Marlow, conductor



Lux aeterna

Nadia Boulanger

Olivier Charlier, violin

Isabelle Sabrie, soprano

Francis Pierre, harp

Raphaelle Semezis, cello

Marco Polo


Eternity’s Sunrise

John Tavener

Academy of Ancient Music Paul Goodwin, conductor Patricia Rozario, soprano Harmonia Mundi


Piano Sonata No. 9 “Black Mass”

Alexander Scriabin

Sviatoslav Richter, piano



Lux aeterna

Morten Lauridson

L.A. Master Chorale and Sinfonia

Paul Salumanuvich, conductor



Elegiaque Trio


Kempf Trio



Cadman Requiem

Gavin Bryars


Hilliard Ensemble

Point Music

Comments [5]

Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Hi Terrance,
Thanks for answering my comment. It is true that all Christians aren't necessarily Catholic; however, since all Catholics are Christians, the article would have been clearer if it had referred to "Catholics and other Christians". The way the article is now written implies that Catholics are not Christians, which is a common charge leveled at us by some fundamentalist groups. That is why I took issue with the way that sentence was written.
Although I don't listen to All Ears, I do listen to you on many weeknights, and I enjoy your pleasant voice (and the music of course!). Thanks again for your comment!

Nov. 03 2013 06:03 PM

Your comments are very much appreciated. I'm glad this show had resonance. My grandfather's land is now flush with pine trees that my family and I planted nearly ten years ago.

Carol, hello... our page does make a distinction between Christianity and Catholicism. While it is true that Catholics embrace Christian doctrine, Christians aren't necessarily Catholic, thus the distinction. Thanks for your comment.

Nov. 03 2013 11:40 AM
Richard Cardillo from New York

What an inspired show this evening. Absolutely excellent musical choices that bespoke so much about your sense of remembrance, "other-worldiness", and the importance of linking to our past. Grazie!

Nov. 02 2013 11:19 PM

Darling Terrance:

What wonderful musical selections--I'm utterly transported with you!

All Saints is my favorite Christian holiday, but I'd like to advise you that it's coupling with Halloween is not original. The first celebration of All Saints occurred in the spring. The celebration was moved to its current location on the calendar to give a Christian gloss to the utterly non-Christian "night when the dead walk," i.e., Halloween, which marks the onset of the cold, dark winter vigil, and, thus, a disruption of nature.

Yet it's important to recognize that both All Saints and the Day of the Dead are avenues into fuller exploration of human experience. Each of us, if we are open-minded, can be enriched by both. But theologically, they are very different.


Nov. 02 2013 10:23 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

To whoever wrote this page:
You refer to "the Christian and Catholic faiths". For your information, Catholics ARE Christians - in fact we were the first Christians! Please correct your error.

Nov. 02 2013 06:37 PM

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