Der zufriedengestellte Äolus

Johann Sebastian Bach

Der zufriedengestellte Äolus

BWV205 • “Zerreisset, zersprenget, dramma per musica”

About this work

Composed to celebrate the name day of Dr. August Friedrich Muller, a philosopher at the University of Leipzigm, Bach's Cantata No. 205 "Zerreisset, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft" (Destroy, break and shatter the tomb) (BWV 205) sets a text by Picander later published under the title Der zufriedengestellte Aeolus (Aeolus Satisfied). The cantata was first performed under Muller's window on August 3, 1725, by Bach directing the Collegium Musicum. The cantata is lavishly scored for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists and chorus, three trumpets, tympani, two flutes, two oboes, two horns, strings with solo viola da amore and solo viola da gamba, and basso continuo with harpsichord and lute. Subtitled "Dramma per musica," the soloists take on the mythological roles of Pallas (soprano), Pomona (alto), Zephyr (tenor), and Aeolus (bass) and the chorus takes on the role of the wind itself. "Zerreisset, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft" is in 15 movements with two outer, large-scale choruses surrounding a sequence of recitatives, arias, duets, and trios for each of the soloists. Each of the central movements is scored for a different instrumental ensemble. Thus, the opening chorus and the first recitative for bass soloists are scored for full orchestra and the bass aria that follows is scored for oboes, strings, and continuo; the tenor secco recitative after that for cello and lute; the tenor aria after that is for viola da amore, cello, viola da gamba, and lute; the bass secco recitative after that for cello and harpsichord; the alto aria after that for obbligato oboe and continuo; the duet recitative for soprano and alto and continuo; the soprano aria after that for obbligato violin and continuo; the duet recitative after that for flutes and continuo; the bass aria after that for horns, trumpets, tympani, and full continuo; the trio recitative after that for soprano, alto, tenor and continuo, the duet aria after that for alto, tenor, flutes, and continuo; and the final soprano recitative for only cello and harpsichord. The final chorus is once again for full orchestra with the chorus hailing the dedicatee by first and last names.

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