All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Ich habe genung

BWV 82 performed by Thomas Bauer and the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen

Genug or genung? Thomas Bauer pleads in defence of the original spelling.

Lars Ulrik Mortensen talks about Bach's view on major and minor.

What if you strip Bach's famous oboe solo of all its frills.

The lullaby for eternal sleep

Bach’s work does not get much more intimate than this solo cantata.

The Feast of the Purification for which it was composed commemorates the traditional purification sacrifice made by Mary forty days after the birth of Jesus. On this day, she met the old man Simeon, who immediately recognised the tiny Jesus as the Messiah and burst into a song of praise, singing ‘Now I have seen my Saviour, I can die in peace’. Simeon’s Song of Praise – also known as the Nunc Dimittis – was not only sung at the Feast of the Purification on 2 February, but was also given a regular place in the daily Mass at the close of day in monasteries. With the words of the Light of the World in mind, people could go to sleep in peace.

The way that mortality was viewed in the eighteenth century is expressed wonderfully in Ich habe genung. Death was seen as a deliverance from the earthly vale of tears, and as a chance to unite with your creator. So rather than being heart-rending, the music exudes a subdued melancholy. The first aria gives a more or less literal interpretation of Simeon’s emotions. The oboe opens with a plaintive upward leap (a minor sixth). This interval plays an important role throughout the aria.

Then comes the aria that Bach’s biographer Albert Schweitzer called ‘the lullaby for eternal sleep’: Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen. It invites the listener to slip away from daily cares, gently but forever. And finally, a cheerful dance rhythm celebrates the approaching end. Throughout the cantata, the contribution of the solo wind instrument is crucial. Initially plaintive, then mellow and finally full of optimistic joy, the oboe drives the bass onwards.



Ich habe genung

cantata (solo cantata)




the Purification (2 February)

First performance
2 February 1727

Special notes
Arranged in 1731 for soprano and with transverse flute instead of oboe (has not survived intact), in 1735 for mezzo-soprano, in 1747 for bass or mezzo with the addition of oboe da caccia and organ. . There is also a version for organ (BWV Anh. 55) entitled ‘Herr Christ der einig Gotts Sohn.’

Cast & Crew

release date 2 May 2014
recording date 1 February 2014
Location Geertekerk, Utrecht
conductor and harpsichord Lars Ulrik Mortensen
bass Thomas Bauer
Violin 1 Shunske Sato, Sayuri Yamagata, Anneke van Haaften
VIOLin 2 Pieter Affourtit, Paulien Kostense, Annelies van der Vegt
viola Staas Swierstra, Femke Huizinga
cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
double bass Robert Franenberg
oboe Martin Stadler
positive organ Siebe Henstra
CONCERT PRODUCTION Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters
Producer Frank van der Weij
Film director Lucas van Woerkum
CAMERA Robert Berger, Jorrit Garretsen, Benjamin Sparschuh
film editor Lucas van Woerkum & Frank van der Weij
GAFFER Roel Ypma
Best Boy Chris Uitenwijk
production assistent Zoë de Wilde
Score reader Jan Van den Bossche
MAKE UP Marloes Bovenlander, Jamila el Bouch
TRAINEES CAMERA Izak de Dreu, Indy Hamid
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Jaap Firet, Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis
Data handler Joep Bannenberg
MUSIC EDIT & MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
Colorist Geert van Schoot
interviews Onno van Ameijde
Acknowledgements Rob van Stek

Vocal Texts


1. Arie

Ich habe genung,
ich habe den Heiland,
das Hoffen der Frommen,
auf meine begierigen Arme genommen;
ich habe genung!
Ich hab ihn erblickt,
Mein Glaube hat Jesum ans Herze gedrückt;
nun wünsch ich, noch heute mit Freuden
von hinnen zu scheiden.

2. Rezitativ

Ich habe genung.
Mein Trost ist nur allein,
dass Jesus mein
und ich sein eigen möchte sein.
Im Glauben halt ich ihn,
da seh ich auch mit Simeon
die Freude jenes Lebens schon.
Lasst uns mit diesem Manne ziehn!
Ach! möchte mich von meines Leibes Ketten
der Herr erretten;
ach! wäre doch mein Abschied hier,
mit Freuden sagt ich, Welt, zu dir:
ich habe genung.

3. Arie

Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen,
fallet sanft und selig zu!
Welt, ich bleibe nicht mehr hier,
hab ich doch kein Teil an dir,
das der Seele könnte taugen.
Hier muss ich das Elend bauen,
aber dort, dort werd ich schauen
süssen Frieden, stille Ruh.

4. Rezitativ

Mein Gott! wenn kömmt das schöne: Nun!
Da ich im Friede fahren werde
und in dem Sande kühler Erde
und dort bei dir im Schosse ruhn?
Der Abschied ist gemacht,
Welt, gute Nacht!

5. Arie

Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod,
ach, hätt’ er sich schon eingefunden.
Da entkomm ich aller Not,
die mich noch auf der Welt gebunden.


1. Aria 

It is enough. 
I have taken the Saviour, 
the hope of the devout, 
into my longing arms; 
it is enough! 
I have gazed on Him, 
my faith has pressed Jesus 
to my heart; 
I would now, even today, gladly 
leave this world. 

2. Recitative 

It is enough. 
My hope is this alone: 
that Jesus should be mine 
and I His. 
In faith I cling to Him, 
and like Simeon, I already see 
the joy of that life beyond. 
Let us go with this man! 
Ah! If the Lord would only free me 
from the bondage 
of my body; 
ah! if only my departure were nigh, 
with joy I’d say to you, O world: 
It is enough. 

3. Aria 

Close in sleep, you weary eyes, 
fall soft and blissfully to! 
World, I shall dwell no longer here, 
since I have no share in you
that might avail my soul. 
Here it is misery that I must tend, 
but there, there I shall behold 
sweet peace, silent repose. 

4. Recitative 

My God, when wilt Thou 
utter fair word: Now! 
When shall I journey in peace
and rest in the soil of cool earth 
and there at your bosom too? 
My leave is taken, world, good night! 

5. Aria 

I look forward to my death,
ah, would that it were already here. 
Then shall I escape all the affliction 
that confined me here on earth.


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