Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184

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Erwünschtes Freudenlicht (Desired light of joy), BWV 184, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the third day of Pentecost and first performed it on 30 May 1724.

History and text[edit]

Bach composed this cantata for Whit Tuesday, the third day of Pentecost.[1] It was likely based on an earlier secular cantata that is no longer extant.[2] BWV 184 was first performed on 30 May 1724 in Leipzig, and was performed again on 3 June 1727 and 15 May 1731.[1]

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.[1]

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata is scored for three solo voices (soprano, alto, and tenor), a four-part choir, two flutes, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[3]

It has six movements:

  1. Recitative (tenor): Erwünschtes Freudenlicht
  2. Duet aria (soprano and alto): Gesegnete Christen, glückselige Herde
  3. Recitative (tenor): So freuet euch, ihr auserwählten Seelen
  4. Aria (tenor): Glück und Segen sind bereit
  5. Chorale: Herr, ich hoff je, du werdest die
  6. Chorus: Guter Hirte, Trost der Deinen


The opening recitative is accompanied by the "ethereal piping" of flutes and continuo.[2] It concludes with an arioso section.[4] The duet aria is "dynamically subtle" and in triple time, "retaining a little more of the spirit of the rustic dance".[2][4] Formally, it is a da capo aria with a long ritornello.[2][4] The third movement is a secco tenor recitative.[2] It too has a closing arioso, ending the movement on D rather than the C major in which it began.[4] The tenor aria is formally a trio sonata for voice, violin, and continuo, in adapted ternary form.[2][4] It is in B minor, the only movement not in a major key.[4] The penultimate movement is, unusually, a four-part setting of the chorale tune.[4] The closing chorus is similar to a gavotte in style. Its middle section is a soprano and bass duet.[4]



  1. ^ a b c "Cantata BWV 184 Erwünschtes Freudenlicht". Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Cantata No. 184". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "BWV 184". University of Alberta. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Mincham, Julian. "Chapter 60 BWV 184". The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 

External links[edit]