Zerreißet, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft (Destroy,
burst, shatter the tomb), BWV 205[a] is a secular
cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The cantata was commissioned by the students of Leipzig
University for the popular professor August Friedrich
Müller and premiered on his name day on 3 August 1725
as a dramma per musica under the title Der
zufriedengestellte Aeolus (The contented Aeolus).
Its libretto was written by Christian Friedrich Henrici
and begins with Pallas Athene (sung by a soprano)
setting up a celebration in honour of Müller. However,
she fears that Aeolus (bass) could ruin the
celebrations with heavy storms in August. With the help
of Zephyrus (tenor) the god of mild winds and Pomona
the goddess of fruitfulness (alto), Pallas manages to
appease Aeolus and those present grant a vivat in
unison for the professor.
Bach wrote other works for university occasions: the
cantata is one of twelve surviving Festmusiken zu
Leipziger Universitätsfeiern, that is music for
festivals of Leipzig University
The cantata is scored for four solo voices – Pallas as
soprano, Pomona as alto, Zephyrus as tenor, and Aeolus
as bass – a four-part choir, three trumpets, timpani,
two horns, two flutes, two oboes, oboe d'amore, two
violins, viola, viola d'amore, viola da gamba, and
I created this arrangement of the opening Chorus:
"Zerreißet, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft"
(Destroy, burst, shatter the tomb) for Orchestra
(Piccolo Trumpet, Bb Trumpet, Flugelhorn, 2 French
Horns, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bb Clarinets, Bass
Clarinet, Bassoon, Timpani, Violins, Violas, Cellos and