Ich bin in mir vergnügt, BWV 204
History and text
Bach composed this cantata in Leipzig between 1726 and 1727 for an unknown occasion. The text is drawn from the work of Christian Friedrich Hunold. Hunold and Bach are assumed to have met, but the librettist died in 1721, which is well before the cantata appears to have been composed.
Scoring and structure
It has eight movements:
- Recitative: Ich bin in mir vergnügt
- Aria: Ruhig und in sich zufrieden
- Recitative: Ihr Seelen, die ihr außer euch
- Aria: Die Schätzbarkeit der weiten Erden
- Recitative: Schwer ist es zwar, viel Eitles zu besitzen
- Aria: Meine Seele sei vergnügt
- Recitative: Ein edler Mensch ist Perlenmuscheln gleich
- Aria: Himmlische Vergnügsamkeit
The opening recitative is harmonically active but melodically fragmented because of the unusual choice to set balanced couplets in recitative. The first aria is characterized by a "restless feeling of effort" beginning immediately after the short instrumental ritornello, and is the only one in da capo form. The second recitative is the only one to be accompagnato, with the strings supporting a harmony that "begins to slide around like quicksand". The second aria has a flowing ritornello theme provided by continuo and obbligato violin. The third recitative is secco with "two bursts of operatic virtuosity". The third aria is in ternary form and minor mode. The fourth recitative includes an arioso passage ending on an "exceedingly odd" cadence. The final movement is the only one to include all instrumental parts, with a dance-like opening theme and an ABAB structure.
- Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman. J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 4. Erato, 1996.
- Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling. Edition Bachakademie Vol. 62. Hänssler, 1998.
- Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Ewerhart. Bach Cantatas. Vox, 1966.
- "BWV" is Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, a thematic catalogue of Bach's works.
- Ich bin in mir vergnügt: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- BWV 204 – "Ich bin in mir vergnügt": English translation, discussion, Emmanuel Music
- Ich bin in mir vergnügt: history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 204 Ich bin in mir vergnügt: English translation, University of Vermont