The substantial cycle, published in 1853, unites splendid concert pieces (Bénédiction and Funérailles) and simple, short compositions, which partly make use of Gregorian modes. The volume was composed over a long period of time. As early as 1835, No. 4 was published in a compositionally revolutionary first version entitled Harmonies poétiques et religieuses after the volume of poetry with the same title by Lamartine. in 1853, Liszt distanced himself from the important early piece, presenting it in a slightly smoother form as Pensées des morts, although it still had considerable impact. Henle has reproduced the bold early work in the appendix to this volume.