Zerreißet, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft

BWV 205 // for the name day of Professor August Friedrich Müller (Dramma per musica)

(Demolish, disrupt it, destroy the lair) or the name day of Professor August Friedrich Müller (Dramma per musica), for soprano, alto, tenor and bass, vocal ensemble, trumpets I-III, timpani, horn I+II, transverse flute I+II, oboe I+II, viola d’amore, viola da gamba, strings and basso continuo

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«Lutzogram» for the introductory workshop

Rudolf Lutz’s manuscript for the workshop
Download (PDF)

Performers

Choir

Soprano
Alice Borciani, Cornelia Fahrion, Stephanie Pfeffer, Noëmi Sohn Nad, Alexa Vogel, Ulla Westvik

Alto
Anne Bierwirth, Antonia Frey, Alexandra Rawohl, Lea Scherer, Tobias Knaus

Tenor
Clemens Flämig, Zacharie Fogal, Joël Morand, Sören Richter

Bass
Jean-Christophe Groffe, Grégoire May, Daniel Pérez, Peter Strömberg, Tobias Wicky

Orchestra

Conductor
Rudolf Lutz

Violin
Éva Borhi, Péter Barczi, Petra Melicharek, Ildikó Sajgó, Lenka Torgersen, Dorothee Mühleisen, Judith von der Goltz

Viola
Martina Bischof, Sonoko Asabuki, Matthias Jäggi

Violoncello
Maya Amrein, Daniel Rosin

Violone
Markus Bernhard

Viola da Gamba
Rebeka Rusó

Transverse flute
Tomoko Mukoyama, Rebekka Brunner

Oboe
Philipp Wagner, Ingo Müller

Bassoon
Susann Landert

Horn
Stephan Katte, Thomas Friedländer

Trumpet
Jaroslav Rouček, Matthew Sadler, Alexander Samawicz

Timpani
Inez Ellmann

Harpsichord
Thomas Leininger

Musical director & conductor

Rudolf Lutz

Workshop

Participants
Rudolf Lutz, Pfr. Niklaus Peter

Reflective lecture

Speaker
Arthur Godel

Recording & editing

Recording date
28/06/2024

Recording location
St. Gallen (Switzerland) // Rudolf Steiner Schule

Sound engineer
Stefan Ritzenthaler

Producer
Meinrad Keel

Executive producer
Johannes Widmer

Production
GALLUS MEDIA AG, Schweiz

Producer
J.S. Bach-Stiftung, St. Gallen, Schweiz

About the work

Libretto

1. Chor der Winde

Zerreißet, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft,
Die unserm Wüten Grenze gibt!
Durchbrechet die Luft,
Daß selber die Sonne zur Finsternis werde,
Durchschneidet die Fluten, durchwühlet die Erde,
Daß sich der Himmel selbst betrübt!

2. Rezitativ — Bass (Aeolus)

Ja! ja! Die Stunden sind nunmehro nah,
Daß ich euch treuen Untertanen
Den Weg aus eurer Einsamkeit
Nach bald geschloßner Sommerszeit
Zur Freiheit werde bahnen.
Ich geb euch Macht,
Vom Abend bis zum Morgen,
Vom Mittag bis zur Mitternacht
Mit eurer Wut zu rasen,
Die Blumen, Blätter, Klee
Mit Kälte, Frost und Schnee
Entsetzlich anzublasen.
Ich geb euch Macht,
Die Zedern umzuschmeißen
Und Bergegipfel aufzureißen.
Ich geb euch Macht,
Die ungestümen Meeresfluten
Durch euren Nachdruck zu erhöhn,
Daß das Gestirne wird vermuten,
Ihr Feuer soll durch euch erlöschend untergehn.

3. Arie — Bass

Wie will ich lustig lachen,
Wenn alles durcheinandergeht!
Wenn selbst der Fels nicht sicher steht
Und wenn die Dächer krachen,
So will ich lustig lachen!

4. Rezitativ — Tenor

Gefürcht’ter Aeolus,
Dem ich im Schoße sonsten liege
Und deine Ruh vergnüge,
Laß deinen harten Schluß
Mich doch nicht allzufrüh erschrecken;
Verziehe, laß in dir,
Aus Gunst zu mir,
Ein Mitleid noch erwecken!

 

5. Arie — Tenor

Frische Schatten, meine Freude,
Sehet, wie ich schmerzlich scheide,
Kommt, bedauret meine Schmach!
Windet euch, verwaisten Zweige,
Ach! ich schweige,
Sehet mir nur jammernd nach!

6. Rezitativ — Bass

Beinahe wirst du mich bewegen.
Wie? seh ich nicht Pomona hier
Und, wo mir recht, die Pallas auch bei ihr?
Sagt, Werte, sagt, was fordert ihr von mir?
Euch ist gewiß sehr viel daran gelegen.

7. Arie — Alt

Können nicht die roten Wangen,
Womit meine Früchte prangen,
Dein ergrimmtes Herze fangen,
Ach, so sage, kannst du sehn,
Wie die Blätter von den Zweigen
Sich betrübt zur Erde beugen,
Um ihr Elend abzuneigen,
Das an ihnen soll geschehn.

8. Rezitativ — Alt, Sopran

Alt
So willst du, grimmger Aeolus,
Gleich wie ein Fels und Stein
Bei meinen Bitten sein?

Sopran
Wohlan! ich will und muß Auch meine Seufzer wagen,
Vielleicht wird mir,
Was er, Pomona, dir
Stillschweigend abgeschlagen,
Von ihm gewährt.

{Sopran, Alt}
Wohl! wenn er gegen {mich, dich} sich gütiger erklärt.

9. Arie — Sopran

Angenehmer Zephyrus,
Dein von Bisam reicher Kuß
Und dein lauschend Kühlen
Soll auf meinen Höhen spielen.
Großer König Aeolus,
Sage doch dem Zephyrus,
Daß sein bisamreicher Kuß
Und sein lauschend Kühlen
Soll auf meinen Höhen spielen.

10. Rezitativ — Sopran, Bass

Sopran
Mein Aeolus,
Ach! störe nicht die Fröhlichkeiten,
Weil meiner Musen Helikon
Ein Fest, ein‘ angenehme Feier
Auf seinen Gipfeln angestellt.

Bass
So sage mir:
Warum dann dir
Besonders dieser Tag so teuer,
So wert und heilig fällt?
O Nachteil und Verdruss!
Soll ich denn eines Weibes Willen
In meinem Regiment erfüllen?

Sopran
Mein Müller, mein August,
Der Pierinnen Freud und Lust

Bass
Dein Müller, dein August!

Sopran
Und mein geliebter Sohn,

Bass
Dein Müller, dein August!

Sopran
Erlebet die vergnügten Zeiten,
Da ihm die Ewigkeit
Sein weiser Name prophezeit.

Bass
Dein Müller! dein August!
Der Pierinnen Freud und Lust
Und dein geliebter Sohn,
Erlebet die vergnügten Zeiten,
Da ihm die Ewigkeit
Sein weiser Name prophezeit:
Wohlan! ich lasse mich bezwingen,
Euer Wunsch soll euch gelingen.

11. Arie — Bass

Zurücke, zurücke, geflügelten Winde,
Besänftiget euch;
Doch wehet ihr gleich,
So weht doch itzund nur gelinde!

12. Rezitativ — Sopran, Alt, Tenor

Sopran
Was Lust!

Alt
Was Freude!

Tenor
Welch Vergnügen!

alle
Entstehet in der Brust,
Daß sich nach unsrer Lust
Die Wünsche müssen fügen.

Tenor
So kann ich mich bei grünen Zweigen
Noch fernerhin vergnügt bezeigen.

Alt
So seh ich mein Ergötzen
An meinen reifen Schätzen.

Sopran
So richt ich in vergnügter Ruh
Meines Augusts Lustmahl zu.

Alt, Tenor
Wir sind zu deiner Fröhlichkeit
Mit gleicher Lust bereit.

13. Arie — Alt, Tenor

Alt
Zweig und Äste
Zollen dir zu deinem Feste
Ihrer Gaben Überfluß.

Tenor
Und mein Scherzen soll und muß,
Deinen August zu verehren,
Dieses Tages Lust vermehren.

{Alt, Tenor}
Ich bringe {die Früchte, mein Lispeln} mit Freuden herbei,

beide
Daß alles zum Scherzen vollkommener sei.

14. Rezitativ – Sopran

Ja, ja! ich lad euch selbst zu dieser Feier ein:
Erhebet euch zu meinen Spitzen,
Wo schon die Musen freudig sein
Und ganz entbrannt vor Eifer sitzen.
Auf! lasset uns, indem wir eilen,
Die Luft mit frohen Wünschen teilen!

15. Chor

Vivat August, August vivat,
Sei beglückt, gelehrter Mann!
Dein Vergnügen müsse blühen,
Daß dein Lehren, dein Bemühen
Möge solche Pflanzen ziehen,
Womit ein Land sich einstens schmücken kann.

Reflective lecture

From Arthur Godel

Reflection on the cantata BWV 205 “The Satisfied Aeolus”

Bach as a teacher

With today’s cantata, Leipzig students thanked an esteemed teacher, the law and philosophy lecturer August Friedrich Müller. For his 35th name day (Augustus), they commissioned a festive open-air cantata from the city’s first composer. Truly a sympathetic gesture of thanks!

It makes me think about Bach as a teacher. He worked for 27 years at the elite music school in the commercial city of Leipzig and as a composer he remains one of the great teachers to this day.

So I asked myself:

  • How did Bach himself learn and how did he teach?
  • What has he taught us, what has he taught me?

How it started for me

For me, it started (quite unnoticed) with Gounod! As a young violinist, I played his “Ave Maria” and only later discovered that this was my first Bach. I grew up with Mozart and Schubert, Bach came later. The de-Romanticised Baroque music I heard on the radio in our living room in my youth was labelled “sewing machine Baroque”. And that’s how some of it sounded.

Fortunately, a rebel like Harnoncourt soon came along and the historically-informed, so-called authentic style of playing was introduced. New life was breathed into baroque music. We all owe a great deal to historical Baroque and Bach research, and thanks to the performers who have been inspired by it, we are hearing Bach anew. I am thinking of Angela Hewitt, András Schiff, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Rudolf Lutz and many others.

From Vivaldi to Bach

However, my approach to Bach took a diversion via Vivaldi! As a young music student, I was given the opportunity to play Bach’s “A minor Concerto” as a soloist. In the large hall of the Grand Hotel on the Seelisberg, directly above the Rütli, in the hall where orange-robed gurus later taught transcendental meditation.

The music of the “A minor concerto” sounded familiar to me, as I had already played my way through countless Vivaldi concertos. I later discovered that Bach had also studied Vivaldi thoroughly and had even turned Vivaldi’s violin concertos into a one-man show for an organist. Bach owed the concertante vigour of many of his works to the Italians.

I was particularly moved by the slow movement of the Violin Concerto in A minor. Here, the solo violin floats above a firm, ostinato bass, free as a bird in the sky – it was highly expressive music. For the first time, I encountered Bach’s gripping expressiveness, which I would experience in an overwhelming variety years later in our cantata project. Not the gurus from Seelisberg, but Bach led me to a kind of transcendental meditation – or to put it more simply: to a fulfilled inwardness when listening to his music.

Polyphonic for violin solo

When I entered the conservatory, the sonatas and partitas for solo violin were on the study programme. I got closer to Bach by playing him. “Interpreting music: Make music”. I found this sentence by Adorno confirmed again and again (from: Fragment on Music and Language).

So now the solo sonatas, this artful polyphony for a monophonic instrument. In the not very extensive repertoire for solo violin, Bach’s “Chaconne” remains unrivalled for me, a cathedral of sound in 64 variations. The “Chaconne” is devilishly difficult. I was not surprised when I later learnt that Bach himself was an accomplished violinist – and he was also a highly productive learner in this case. A few contemporary virtuosos had already taken polyphonic playing on the monophonic instrument a long way; Bach, however, was the first to compose truly great music with it.

Ingenious learning ability

That’s how I see him: he learnt wherever he found something outstanding:

  • as a young organist and composer with the old German organ masters Reincken and Buxtehude
  • later the concertante style of Vivaldi
  • the musical rhetoric of Schütz
  • and finally even in his most talented sons the new style of sensibility!

Bach’s genius was also based on an ingenious ability to learn – and the ambition to further develop and surpass his role models. He used his sharp musical thinking to achieve this.

The rational stream

Bach was a highly rational composer. In the spirit of Kant, he achieved a high degree of compositional autonomy through radically independent thinking. The intellectual depth with which a musician reads the Bible and how he translates his insights and his faith into musical images that can be experienced by the senses is historically unique – against the backdrop of a skilfully crafted musical setting. Just think of the opening chorus of the St Matthew Passion, for example, about which books could be written, or the polyphonic marvels of many choral movements in the cantatas. Bach explored everything that was musically possible at the time, expanded and varied the cantata form many times and even flirted with opera, which did not (or no longer) exist as an institution in Leipzig at the time. The cantata in today’s concert, explicitly labelled as a “dramma per musica”, is an example of this.

Ordo and harmony

I also had to discover the rational Bach first. I was helped by a teacher at the conservatory, Peter Benary, a musicologist and composer from Thuringia, Bach’s neighbourhood. He showed us, for example, the construction plans on which Bach’s works are based: On a large scale, for example, the axially symmetrical arrangement in the Credo of the “Mass in B minor”, or on a smaller scale the balanced motivic interplay in the Inventions.

I now realised why I feel so uplifted when listening to Bach’s music; it is this order that prevails over everything and creates harmony. In the understanding of the time, it was the image of the divine order, but it continues to have an effect even today with a changed world view. Why this is so remains a mystery to me, but it is a fact.

A happy time back then, which – as the philosopher Leibniz put it – was convinced: “God has recognised the best of all worlds through his wisdom, chosen it through his goodness and realised it through his power.” It is this happiness of an ordered, harmonious universe that we experience and perhaps also seek in Bach’s music. Before we return to a completely different world …

Inventions

Back to the conservatory again: the lessons went one step further from analysis to practice, and we were asked to write short piano pieces in the style of Bach’s two-part Inventions. Only then did we realise how foresightedly Bach had set his themes, already keeping all contrapuntal variations in mind, and how elegantly, even expressively and never schematically he developed these “Inventiones”. How awkward and angular our attempts were in comparison.

Bach wrote the Inventions (which you may also have played at some point) for the piano and composition lessons of his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann.

Passionate pedagogue

Bach was a passionate pedagogue and systematic composer, as is typical of German Baroque composers. However, none of his contemporaries created such a large series of pedagogical works, which are also great music, for example:

  • the inventions
  • the Well-Tempered Clavier
  • the Orgelbüchlein (the great school of chorale arrangements).

He presented these three collections of works when he applied to Leipzig as proof of his pedagogical skills as a piano and composition teacher. He moved to Germany’s most renowned university city. The Enlightenment thinkers there focussed entirely on pedagogy – pedagogy as the best way to self-development and intellectual independence. This was also the case for August Friedrich Müller, the lecturer honoured with our cantata.

Bach remained his own teacher for the rest of his life, or to use the language of sport, his only challenger. When the famous French organist Marchand was to compete with him and Bach heard about it, he left the field in a hurry. He quickly realised that Bach was and remained in a class of his own.

Consistency and universality

The technique of counterpoint, of which he was the undisputed master, remained the epitome of musical erudition far beyond the Baroque period – from Mozart to Mendelssohn, from late Beethoven to Brahms and perhaps to this day. However, it is not only his mastery of compositional technique that draws composers and us today to Bach:

It is the coherence of his music.

It is the universality of his music.

It speaks directly to us across the centuries.

And asks the big, unanswerable questions.

It remains open to new interpretations.

Bach’s complete vocal works

Over the years, we have experienced the almost inexhaustible wealth of Bach in our large Bach project. The multidimensionality and depth of his vocal work was revealed to us: didactically, musically and theologically. Over 200 cantatas, and each one is always new!

Even the baroque cantata texts, to which Bach gave his interpretation, became the key to big questions for us. Thanks to our two “teachers”, the well-educated theologians Karl Graf and Niklaus Peter. Our reflectionists also play a part. Starting from a key word in the cantata, they build a bridge to the present, as I have tried to do today with the topic of “Bach as a teacher”.

My thanks

I was able to experience fifteen years of Bach cantatas with you; it was the most valuable listening school of my life. Realised by a passionate teacher, a conductor, dear Ruedi, who takes the royal road of musical didactics anew every month: the direct connection between the explanatory word and the music that can be heard.

Truly, your introductions and above all your interpretations offer us the masterclass of a highly versatile musician. You have the musical language of Bach down pat and speak it as an improviser and composer.

A big thank you also to all of you, singers and musicians, you open up Bach to us with great skill and dedication – the spark jumps over to us. Understanding and enjoying Bach requires performers of your quality!

Nevertheless, with no other composer do I have the feeling that I still don’t fully understand him. Bach remains a life project. We are in good company. Carl Friedrich Zelter, Goethe’s musical advisor and patron of Mendelssohn, spent a lifetime studying Bach. He came to the conclusion:

“Bach clear – but ultimately inexplicable.”

(Many thanks to Kerstin Wiese from the Bach Archive Leipzig for her expert review of the speech)

Bibliographical references

All libretti sourced from Neue Bach-Ausgabe. Johann Sebastian Bach. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, published by the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut Göttingen and the Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Series I (Cantatas), vol. 1–41, Kassel and Leipzig, 1954–2000.
All in-depth analyses by Anselm Hartinger (English translations/editing by Alice Noger-Gradon/Mary Carozza) based on the following sources:  Hans-Joachim Schulze, Die Bach-Kantaten. Einführungen zu sämtlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs, Leipzig, 2nd edition, 2007; Alfred Dürr, Johann Sebastian Bach. Die Kantaten, Kassel, 9th edition, 2009, and Martin Petzoldt, Bach-Kommentar. Die geistlichen Kantaten, Stuttgart, vol. 1, 2nd edition, 2005 and vol. 2, 1st edition, 2007.

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