One of Bach's lesser-known cantatas, this work was
evidently written in 1726 or 1727 for the regular
concerts of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig. This was
an organization associated with the University of
Leipzig that gave concerts during the summer months at
an outdoor coffee garden and in other seasons in a
coffee house. Bach was its musical director.
It is an unusually demanding solo cantata for soprano,
with orchestra of strings, flute, oboes, bassoon, and
harpsichord. The text is a poem by Christian Friedrich
Hunold (who wrote under the name "Menantes"). Its
subject is contentment, and the title of the cantata
(from its opening line) means "I am happy in myself."
The style of the music is that of an Italian solo
cantata, virtually a concerto for voice and orchestra.
It is in eight sections, with a recitative preceding
each of four arias; the final recitative also has an
arioso. Each of the arias also features an obbligato
instrumental part to go with the florid writing of the
This work is classed as a secular cantata, since it has
no specifically Christian content. Nevertheless, it is
a philosophical work directed to the topic of what
constitutes a moderate, contented life, with homilies
such as "One must find pearls of contentment within
oneself," "Heaven ever communes with him who can be
rich in poverty," and "May my soul be contented however
God ordains it."
The first aria: "Ruhig und in sich zufrieden" (To be
calm and self-contented) is characterized by a
"restless feeling of effort" beginning immediately
after the short instrumental ritornello, and is the
only one in da capo form.
Although originally composed for soprano soloist,
Flute, 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola, and Basso Bontinuo, I
created this arrangement for Bb Clarinet and Strings (2
Violins and Cello).