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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Ich bin ein guter Hirt (I am the good Shepherd)

Cantata 85

  • Second Sunday after Easter
  • Epistle: 1 Peter ii. 21-25 (You were as sheep, gone astray)
  • Gospel: John x. 11-16 (I am the good Shepherd)
  • Rating: 2

Like BWV 104, this cantata revolves around the theme of the Good Shepherd, this time concentrating on the price that He has to pay for His love of us. Thus the opening aria has a much sadder atmosphere, evoked by a lovely plaintive oboe theme with a counter melody on the strings. The following aria reinforces the message of the first and this is itself followed by a solo chorale based on Psalm 23. After a recitative, there is a pleasant tenor aria with a flowing orchestral accompaniment followed by a chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.