All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke performed by Maria Keohane and the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Fabio Bonizzoni.

Conductor Fabio Bonizzoni explains why Bach's music offers consolation.

A mysterious change

Why did Bach replace the word ‘Stand’ with ‘Glücke’?

In this solo cantata, the oboe and soprano express their joy. It is one of the few pieces referred to by Bach himself as a ‘cantata’. The text originates from one of the collections by Bach’s regular lyricist, Christian Friedrich Henrici, who wrote under the pseudonym of Picander. However, Bach changed his first line. Picander wrote ‘Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stand’, which Bach changed to 'Glücke'. This change prompted conductor John Eliot Gardiner to speculate. In his book on Bach, Music in the Castle of Heaven, he describes how Bach was obsessed by status and is supposed to have often felt misunderstood. Could this be a reason for Bach finding it hard to set words to music about how satisfied he was with his ‘position’ and thus changing the text to ‘Glücke’? Possibly. Another theory is that reconciling oneself to social position (not getting ideas above your station) was probably too anti-revolutionary for Bach, and ‘Glücke’ was therefore more suitable.
Whatever the case, the words and the music are undeniably in the service of God. ‘Ich esse mit Freude mein wenige Brot’, sings the soprano contentedly, in the knowledge that she has nothing to demand of God.


BWV
84

Title
Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke

Genre
cantata

Year
1727

City
Leipzig

Text
Christian Friedrich Henrici (alias Picander)

Occasion
Septuagesima Sunday

first performance
probably 9 February 1727

Cast & Crew

release date 14 August 2015
recording date 17 January 2015
Location Walloon Church, Amsterdam
Conductor and organ Fabio Bonizzoni
soprano Maria Keohane
alto Barnabás Hegyi
tenor Robert Buckland
bass Matthias Winckhler
violin 1 Shunske Sato, Pieter Affourtit, Anneke van Haaften
violin 2 Sayuri Yamagata, Paulien Kostense, Annelies van der Vegt
viola Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
double bass Robert Franenberg
oboe Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg, Yongcheon Shin
bassoon Benny Aghassi
church organ Leo van Doeselaar
concert Production Erik van Lith, Marco Meijdam
PRODUCER Frank van der Weij
FILM DIRECTOR Joost Honselaar
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Simon Aarden
CAMERA Simon Aarden, Ruben van den Broeke, Jorrit Garretsen, Benjamin Sparschuh, Indy Hamid
FILM EDITOR Joost Honselaar
MUSIC RECORDING PRODUCER Leo de Klerk
GAFFER Zen Bloot
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Zoë de Wilde
Score reader Niek Wijns
MAKE UP Marloes Bovenlander, Jamila el Bouch
CAMERA ASSISTaNT Izak de Dreu
Best boy Jur Oster
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Jaap Firet, Jaap van Stenis, Bobby Verbakel
MUSIC EDIT AND MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
Music edit and mix assistant Nina Kraszewska
Colorist Jef Grosfeld
interview Gijs Besseling, Kasper Koudenburg
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Nienke Meuleman

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Arie 

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke,
das mir der liebe Gott beschert.
Soll ich nicht reiche Fülle haben,
so dank ich ihm vor kleine Gaben
und bin auch nicht derselben wert.

2. Rezitativ

Gott ist mir ja nichts schuldig,
und wenn er mir was gibt,
so zeigt er mir, dass er mich liebt;
ich kann mir nichts bei ihm verdienen,
denn was ich tu, ist meine Pflicht.
Ja! wenn mein Tun 
gleich noch so gut geschienen,
so hab ich doch nichts Rechtes ausgericht'.
Doch ist der Mensch so ungeduldig,
dass er sich oft betrübt,
wenn ihm der liebe Gott nicht überflüssig gibt.
Hat er uns nicht so lange Zeit
umsonst ernähret und gekleidt
und will uns einsten seliglich
in seine Herrlichkeit erhöhn?
Es ist genug vor mich,
Dass ich nicht hungrig darf zu Bette gehn.

3. Arie

Ich esse mit Freuden mein weniges Brot
und gönne dem Nächsten
von Herzen das Seine.
Ein ruhig Gewissen, ein fröhlicher Geist,
ein dankbares Herze, das lobet und preist,
vermehret den Segen, verzuckert die Not.

4. Rezitativ

Im Schweisse meines Angesichts
will ich indes mein Brot geniessen,
und wenn mein Lebenslauf,
mein Lebensabend wird beschliessen,
so teilt mir Gott den Groschen aus,
da steht der Himmel drauf.
O! wenn ich diese Gabe
zu meinem Gnadenlohne habe,
so brauch ich weiter nichts.

5. Choral

Ich leb indes in dir vergnüget
und sterb ohn alle Kümmernis,
mir genüget, wie es mein Gott füget,
ich glaub und bin es ganz gewiss:
durch deine Gnad und Christi Blut
machst du's mit meinem Ende gut.


Translation

1. Aria

I am content with my good fortune,
that dear God bestows on me.
Though I do not have abundant riches
I thank Him for simple favours
and do not merit even these.

2. Recitative

God, indeed, owes me nothing,
and when He bestows a gift on me
He shows His love for me;
I can earn nothing in His service,
for what I do is my duty.
Indeed, however good my actions have seemed,
I have done nothing that is worthy.
Yet man is so impatient
that he is often sad
if God does not shower him
with gifts.
Has He not through all these years
nourished and clothed us for nothing,
and will one day exalt us
before His majesty?
It is enough for me

that I do not go hungry to bed.

3. Aria

I eat my meagre bread with joy,

and do not begrudge
my neighbour his. 

A clear conscience, a happy spirit,
a thankful heart that lauds and praises,

increases blessing, sweetens affliction.

4. Recitative

In the sweat of my countenance
I shall meanwhile savour my bread,
and when my life’s course,
my life’s evening draws to a close,
then God will give me the coin
on which heaven is inscribed.
Ah, when I have this favour
as my reward of mercy,
I shall need nothing more.

5. Chorale

I live meanwhile content in Thee,
and die, all sorrow laid aside.
I am satisfied whatever God decrees;
I believe, and am quite certain:
through Thy grace and Christ’s own blood,
Thou shalt see that my life ends well.


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