Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184
History and text
Bach composed this cantata for Whit Tuesday, the third day of Pentecost. It was likely based on an earlier secular cantata that is no longer extant. BWV 184 was first performed on 30 May 1724 in Leipzig, and was performed again on 3 June 1727 and 15 May 1731.
The prescribed readings for the feast day were from the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit in Samaria (Acts 8:14–17), and from the Gospel of John, the Good Shepherd (John 10:1–10). Movement 5 of the cantata is the final stanza of Anarg von Wildenfels' hymn "O Herre Gott, dein göttlichs Wort". The poet of movements 1 to 4 and 6 is unknown.
Scoring and structure
It has six movements:
- Recitative (tenor): Erwünschtes Freudenlicht
- Duet aria (soprano and alto): Gesegnete Christen, glückselige Herde
- Recitative (tenor): So freuet euch, ihr auserwählten Seelen
- Aria (tenor): Glück und Segen sind bereit
- Chorale: Herr, ich hoff je, du werdest die
- Chorus: Guter Hirte, Trost der Deinen
The opening recitative is accompanied by the "ethereal piping" of flutes and continuo. It concludes with an arioso section. The duet aria is "dynamically subtle" and in triple time, "retaining a little more of the spirit of the rustic dance". Formally, it is a da capo aria with a long ritornello. The third movement is a secco tenor recitative. It too has a closing arioso, ending the movement on D rather than the C major in which it began. The tenor aria is formally a trio sonata for voice, violin, and continuo, in adapted ternary form. It is in B minor, the only movement not in a major key. The penultimate movement is, unusually, a four-part setting of the chorale tune. The closing chorus is similar to a gavotte in style. Its middle section is a soprano and bass duet.
- Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman. J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 7. Erato, 1997.
- Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki. J.S. Bach: Cantatas Vol. 20. BIS, 2001.
- Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart / Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling. Die Bach Kantate. Hänssler, 1977.
- Holland Boys Choir / Netherlands Bach Collegium, Pieter Jan Leusink. Bach Edition Vol. 14. Brilliant Classics, 2000.
- Monteverdi Choir / English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner. Bach Cantatas Vol. 27. Soli Deo Gloria, 2000.
- "Cantata BWV 184 Erwünschtes Freudenlicht". Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "Cantata No. 184". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "BWV 184". University of Alberta. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Mincham, Julian. "Chapter 60 BWV 184". The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Cantatas, BWV 181–190: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Erwünschtes Freudenlicht history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 184 Erwünschtes Freudenlicht English translation, University of Vermont