Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke (I am content in my
good fortune), 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.
Bach wrote the solo cantata in Leipzig for the third
Sunday before Lent, called Septuagesima. 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
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. 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
The closing chorale is the 12th stanza of the hymn "Wer
weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende" by Ämilie Juliane von
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1686). 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.
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). 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".
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.
I created this arrangement of the second Aria: "Ich
esse mit Freuden mein weniges Brot" (I eat my little
bit of bread with joy) for String Quartet (2 Violins,
Viola & Cello).