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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke (I am happy in my good fortune)

Cantata 84

  • Septuagesima Sunday
  • Epistle: 1 Corinthians ix. 24-27 & x. 1-5 (Our life is like a race; only one receives the prize)
  • Gospel: Matthew xx 1-16 (The labourers in the vineyard)
  • Rating: 1

One of Bach's supreme gifts was to make so much out of what seems so little. Here is a good example. The cantata for solo soprano, BWV 84 has the very straightforward structure of aria, recitative, aria, recitative, chorale. None of the movements has a complicated orchestration or musical structure and the total duration is typically under fifteen minutes. The effect, however, is delightful. The first aria starts with an introductory ritornello on the oboe which skips along with delicate trills and the soprano is soon mirroring the oboe trill for trill. The second aria is even more playful. In the meantime the text, apparently by Picander, quietly but firmly reinforces part of the message of the Gospel of the day, that we should be happy with what we have.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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