Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke, BWV 84

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Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke
BWV 84
Solo church cantata by J. S. Bach
Teachings of Jesus 16 of 40. the eleventh hour labourers. Jan Luyken etching. Bowyer Bible.gif
The eleventh hour labourers etching by Jan Luyken
Occasion Septuagesimae
Performed 9 February 1727 (1727-02-09) – Leipzig
Movements 5
Cantata text Picander?
Chorale by Ämilie Juliane von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  • solo soprano
  • SATB choir
  • oboe
  • 2 violins
  • viola
  • continuo

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke (I am content in my good fortune),[1] BWV 84, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the solo cantata for soprano in Leipzig in 1727 for the Sunday Septuagesima and first performed it on 9 February 1727.

History and words[edit]

Bach wrote the solo cantata in Leipzig for the third Sunday before Lent, called Septuagesima.[2] It is one of the few works called cantata today which Bach called "Cantata" himself. He had already composed two cantatas for the occasion in earlier years, Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin, BWV 144, in 1724 and the chorale cantata Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn, BWV 92, in 1725. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were taken from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, "race for victory" (1 Corinthians 9:24–10:5), and from the Gospel of Matthew, the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16).

As in the earlier years, the cantata text is related to the Gospel in the general way that the Christian should be content with his share of good fortune, without envy of others who may seem more fortunate. The title and the text show similarities to Picander's Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande ("I am content with my position"), published in 1728. It is unclear if both texts are by Picander, or if Picander based his on a former one, or if Picander's was already available at the time of the composition but was changed.[2] As Klaus Hofmann observes, the thoughts are in the spirit of the beginning Enlightenment, "praise of frugality, of modesty with that which God has allocated to us, of satisfaction, of lack of envy towards others". The language is no longer the "rhetorical pathos of baroque poetry", but "radicality and artistry of the imagery. The language is simple and terse; it is rational rather than figurative."[3]

The closing chorale is the 12th stanza of the hymn "Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende" by Ämilie Juliane von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1686). [4] Bach had used its first stanza in his cantatas Wo gehest du hin? BWV 166 (1724) and in Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende? BWV 27 (1726). He first performed the cantata on 9 February 1727.[2]

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata in five movements is scored for a soprano soloist, a four-part choir only in the closing chorale, oboe, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[2]

  1. Aria: Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke
  2. Recitative: Gott ist mir ja nichts schuldig
  3. Aria: Ich esse mit Freuden mein weniges Brot
  4. Recitative: Im Schweiße meines Angesichts
  5. Chorale: Ich leb indes in dir vergnüget


The movements show different instrumentation and character. The first aria is slow and pensive, accompanied by all instruments, reminiscent of the slow movement of an oboe concerto. The first recitative is secco, the other one accompanied by the strings. The second aria is dancing and accompanied by two obbligato parts, oboe and violin. They express in vivid figuration in the violin and a slightly simplified version in the oboe the text "ein fröhlicher Geist, ein dankbares Herze, das lobet und preist" (a happy spirit, a thankful heart, that gives praise).[1][2] Hofmann observes that the aria depicts a "pastoral idyll with a rustic musical scene – a tribute to the Enlightenment utopia of simple, happy country life." The violin's figuration suggests the drone of bagpipes or hurdy-gurdy. The voice leaps in upward sixths, in "folk-like character" and conveying "contented tranquillity".[3]

The chorale is a four-part setting of the tune "Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten". [5]

Selected recordings[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dellal, Pamela. "BWV 84 – Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke". Emmanuel Music. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 207–209. ISBN 3-423-04080-7. 
  3. ^ a b Hofmann, Klaus (2008). "Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke / (I am Content with my Happiness), BWV 84" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. p. 8. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende? / Text and Translation of Chorale". bach-cantatas.com. 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten". bach-cantatas.com. 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2012.