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Cantata BWV 204
Ich bin in mir vergnügt
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of December 1, 2013 (3rd round)

William Hoffman wrote (Noivember 30, 2013):
Cantata 204: Contentedness & Related Music

The last category of Bach Secular Cantatas in the Bach Cantata Mailing List Discussions Part 3 are listed for “Various Occasions” (Verschiedene Bestimmungen). These surviving works were not composed specifically for princely court celebrations, members of the nobility and bourgeoise, Leipzig University- and Thomas School-related academic events, or civic weddings. Instead, composed in Leipzig mainly from 1727 to 1734, they range from intimate solo cantatas such as BWV 204, “Ich bin in mir vergnügt” (I am content in myself), probably for home use, to music most likely presented at Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse and Gardens, including the celebratory satirical Cantata 201 (performed three times), the singspiel-style “Coffee Cantata” 212, Cantata 209 soprano solo Italian farewell music, and Italianate Cantata 203, bass solo Köthen court entertainment.

The Various Occasions works are discussed in the coming five weeks are:

(BCW Discussion date, BWV, Title, Occasion, Date composed)

December 1, 204, “Ich bin in mir vergnügt,” occasion unspecified (1727 / 1728)
December 8, 201, “Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde,” Collegium musicum event (1729)
December 15, 211, “Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht,” Coffee Cantata (1734?)
December 22, 203, “Amore traditore, occasion unspecified (1717-1723?)
December 29, 209, “Non sa che sia dolore,” Farewell (1734?)

(End of the 3rd Cycle of Cantata Discussions)

With the exception of the satirical dramma per musica Cantata 201, the other secular cantatas are scored for one or two voices with a small instrumental ensemble. They are similar in scale and proportion to Bach’s intimate sacred church-year cycle cantatas primarily composed between 1726 and 1727 when Bach was transitioning from music for the main services in his incomplete third church-year cycle to instrumental and secular vocal music. Other cantatas to be included in the discussion of Cantatas for Various Occasions:

+BWV 216, “Vergnügte Pleißen-Stadt,” Leipzig wedding (1728);

+BWV Cantata 210p, “O Angehnehme Melodei” prototype, homage work, before 1729;

+BWV Cantata 195p, Title Unknown, prototype, secular comic? occasion, c.1727;

+BWV Anh.194, “O vergnügte Stunden, da mein Herzog funden seinen Lebenstag”; birthday, Prince Johann August of Anhalt-Zerbst, 1722 serenata dialog (music lost);

+BWV deest, “Des Zephyrs Atem rausch und fleigt,” homage, Prince August Ludwig, Anhalt-Köthen, 1729 (no music or link to Bach); and

+BWV Anh. 197, “Ihr Wallenden Wolken,” congratulatory, Köthen New Year’s (1717-23) (no text or music)

Cantata 204 Genesis & Influence

The impetus for Cantata 204 probably dates to the mid 1720s when Bach turned to intimate home music for Anna Magdalena (1701-1760), a talented singer at the Köthen Court he had met and married in 1721, following the death of his first wife, Maria Barbara. After the beginning of the Anna Magdalena 1725 Notenbüchlein (Little Music Book), Bach produced profane, intimate proto cantatas, often with civil wedding connections, with progressive galant music, particularly Cantatas BW 216, 210p, and 195p (see above), originally conceived probably between 1727 and 1729.

BWV 204, “Ich bin in mir vergnügt” (I am content in myself) or “Von der Verngnügsamkeit (On Contentedness) was composed for an unspecified occasion c.1727, possibly a home event (see BCW Details, . The text author is Christian Friedrich Hunold (1681-1721) [BCW Short Biography, ], and an unknown poet (Movements 7 & 8). German text and Francis Browne English translation are found at BCW and Z. Philip Ambrose English translation/notes at . The Scoring is for Soloist: Soprano; Orchestra: transverse flute, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo. The music is found at Score Vocal & Piano, , and Score BGA [2.95 MB], . References are: BGA (Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe) X1/2 (Secular Cantatas 201-205, Wilhelm Rust ed., 1862); NBA (Neue Bach Ausgabe) I/40 (Cantatas for weddings & various secular occasions, Werner Neumann ed., 1969/70), BC (Bach Compendium) G 45; Zwang: W 1; First Published: BG, 1862; Autograph score (Facsimile): Berlin, Staatsbibliothek.

Description of Cantata 204 is found in Christoph Wolff’s Liner notes to the Ton Koopman, Erato CD,

<<"Ich bin in mir vergnugt", BWV 204, a cantata to a poem by Christian Friedrich Hunold (known as Menantes), is found under the title "Von der Vergnugsamkeit" or "Der vergnugte Mensch" [The contented man] in his Academische Nebenstunden(Halle and Leipzig 1713). The six four-line strophes in movements 7 and 8, however, come from another, unknown, textual source. The work, a moralistic cantata, is thus, in the context of the secular cantatas, clearly contrasted with the dramatic and comic cantatas as regards its content. Bach's autograph score, with the title "Cantata/Von der Vergnugsamkeit", establishes the period of origin as 1726-1727. An occasion for the composition, which moreover lay beyond the activities of Bach's Collegium Musicum, is not known. This demanding work for solo soprano is entirely in the style of the big Italian solo cantatas, and Bach matches the virtuoso vocal part, with an instrumental equivalent in the obbligato parts in movements 2, 4, 6 and 8>> [[AM-3CD].pdf with BCW Recording Details at . YouTube complete presentation of Cantata 204 on the Erato CD of soprano Lisa Larsson with Ton Koopman is found at: .

Like many other Bach secular and sacred solo cantatas, the instrumental accompaniment in the arias is varied while the movement layout is symmetrical, with alternating recitatives (four) and arias (four):

1. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo: “Ich bin in mir vergnügt” (I am content in myself);
2. Aria da-capo [Soprano]; Oboe I/II, Continuo: “Ruhig und in sich zufrieden” / Ist der größte Schatz der Welt” (To be calm and self-contented /is the greatest treasure in the world);
3. Recitative [Soprano]; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo: “Ihr Seelen, die ihr außer euch / Stets in der Irre lauft” (You souls, who outside yourselves /continually run astray);
4. Aria free da-capo[Soprano]; Violino solo, Continuo: “Die Schätzbarkeit der weiten Erden / Laß meine Seele ruhig sein (May the treasures of the wide world / be left alone in peace by my soul);
5. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo: “Schwer ist es zwar, viel Eitles zu besitzen” (It is indeed hard to possess much vain wealth);
6. Aria free da-capo [Soprano]; Flauto traverso, Continuo: “Meine Seele sei vergnügt / Wie es Gott auch immer fügt” (My soul, be content / with whatever God ordains);
7. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo: “Ein edler Mensch ist Perlenmuscheln gleich, / In sich am meisten reich” (A noble person is like the pearl oyster - / his greatest riches lie within himself); and
8. Aria da-capo style [Soprano]; Flauto traverso, Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo: “Himmlische Vergnügsamk, / Welches Herz sich dir ergibet, / Lebet allzeit unbetrübet” (Heavenly contentment, / the heart that is devoted to you, /lives forever undismayed); parody, ---> BWV 216/3, ---> ?247 /34(106).

Recordings of the first three arias in Cantata 204 are found at:

2. Soprano Gohar Azizyan, (10-9-2013) ; soprano Eva Tamsky (10/2/11),
4. Soprano Gohar Azizyan (10-9-2013)
6. Soprano Edith Mathis (1976), , BCW Recording Details ; soprano Gemma Ramírez (with preceding recitative)

The tone and purpose of Cantata 204 are found in the text and could be the cause of its neglect, says Julian Mincham’s commentary,

<<The text, adapted from a cantata libretto by Christian Hunold is one of the most subjective and introspective of any that Bach set. Hunold had worked at Halle and had been at school in Arnstad in 1691 and, although it was over a decade before Bach took up his appointment there as organist in 1703 it is likely that the two men knew each other in later years [see Hunold BCW Short Biography, ]. If any cantata can be described as unjustly neglected, it is this one. Perhaps it is the personal nature of the text, or it might be the apparent lack of vocal variety, with only the one singer called upon for all eight movements. Another reason may be because we do not know why or for what type of function it was written. It certainly contains themes that are regularly explored within the religious cantatas e.g. the contention that wealth does not bring happiness or spiritual contentment and the satisfaction to be gained from the inner peace of accepting God's word and His decrees. But here these contentions are not centered upon a particular day, or theme of the church year; nor is God, or our praise and appreciation of His benefice, the focal point of the text. Rather, this is a work which looks inward within the human psyche, exploring notions of personal demeanor, attitudes and the search for spiritual solace and inner peace.>>

The first performance of Cantata 204 is suggested in the BCW Discussions, Part 1, Aryeh Oron wrote (October 13, 2003): BWV 204 – Introduction. “The chosen work for this week’s discussion (October 12, 2003) is the solo cantata for soprano ‘Ich bin in mir vergnügt’ (I am content in myself). It was probably first sung by Anna Magdalena in Bach’s family circle during the mourning interval [September 7, 1727, to January 6, 1728] for Queen Christiane Eberhardine (for whose funeral Bach composed the Trauer Ode BWV 198), when Bach could not compose church cantatas. The reason for its performance on any other occasion is not known. The recitatives are all very long and complex, which would make one wonder about its suitability for domestic use. On the other hand, the arias are short and tuneful. The final aria is the gem of the whole work, another of Bach’s outstanding soprano arias with intense emotional beauty.”

That final aria, “Himmlische Vergnügsamkeit” (Heavenly contentment) may have been parodied in the 1731 St. Mark Passion, BWV 247, as the aria “Angenehmes Mordgeschrei” (Pleasing murder-cry) at the point [No. 34(106)] where the crowd shouts, “Crucify him.” Other parody relationships and further details are found in the liner notes to Röschmann/Labadie’s recording on Dorian Recordings, written by Kevin Bazzan

[ ], as found in Oron’s Discussion, October 18, BWV 204, “Background” [BCW, ].

<<The subject of the solo soprano cantata Ich bin in mir vergnügt, BWV 204, is announced in the very first line of text: it is a cantata on the subject of contentment. (It has also been known by the titles “Von der Vergnügsamkeit” and “Der vergnügte Mensch”). The work comes down to us through an autograph score, the first page of which bears the title “J. J. [Jesu Juva} Cantata von der Vergnügsamkeit”. (Relatively few of what we call "cantatas" today were so named by Bach; it is by chance that two of them appear in this recording [the other is BWV 210, AO].) With BWV 204, the source of the libretto - at least, most of the libretto - is known: it was adapted from a collection of poems by Christian Friedrich Hunold, first published at Halle and Leipzig in 1713 (second edition, 1726). The poem "Der vergnügte Mensch" provided the text for the opening recitative; a cantata libretto titled Von der Zufriedenheit (which also means "on contentment") provided the text for Mvts. 2-6 and the beginning of Mvt. 7; the author of the remainder of Mvt. 7 and of Mvt. 8 is not known. (Hunold died in 1721).

The occasion for which this cantata was written is a mystery. The most recent source studies suggest a date between the summer of 1726 and early 1727 -- that is, during Bach's first few, very busy years in Leipzig. Later parodies once again allow us to limit the dates. The closing aria was reused twice, in the wedding cantata Vergnügte Pleißen-Stadt (or Die Pleiße und Neiße), BWV 216, and in the homage cantata Erwäblte Pleißen-Stadt (or Apollo et Mercurius), BWV 216a, a parody of BWV 216, the score for which does not survive. BWV 216 can be definitely dated to 5 February 1728, and BWV 216a probably dates from c. 1728-1731; BWV 204 must, then, have been written before 1728. One speculation is that it was composed during a brief break - perhaps a time of official mourning - In Bach's output of sacred cantatas, his primary occupation at this time. Dürr, following Spitta, speculates that it was written for private, domestic performance only, among family and friends. Bach's second wife, Anna Magdalena, would likely have been the soprano in this case. (She has also been proposed as the intended singer for BWV 202.)

The text of BWV 204 has received its share of criticism. Spitta thought it of "commonplace garrulity," and Schweitzer was amazed that Bach "should have been attracted by such a text." But Schweitzer also noted one aspect of the libretto that may have appealed to the great Lutheran composer: "At first sight, it merely seems to be concerned with the praise of a certain homely contentment and the art of putting away from us unnecessary cares and desires. But the religious note imperceptibly creeps in; the true contentment is peace and quietness in God." Indeed, there is something almost Biblical about the libretto - about the theme (it is better to be contented than rich), the sermon-like quality of the recitatives, the structure and rhythm of the poetry, even (to be frank) the redundancy with which the central point is driven home.

As in a true Italianate cantata, BWV 204 consists of a sequence of recitative-aria pairs. The recitatives are unusually long, and sometimes complicated: Mvt. 3 is accompanied, and has several shifts of tempo; Mvt. 7 begins secco but concludes as an arioso. The arias, on the other hand, are rather simple and tuneful, with little contrapuntal elaboration; all are relatively short, and only the first is a da capo aria. The instrumentation is slightly larger than in the other two cantatas: this time three woodwinds (flauto traverso and two oboes) join soprano, strings, and continuo, though only in the closing aria do all the instruments play to. Bach's music offers considerably more variety than does the text. The variation among recitatives has just been noted; and the four arias are almost self-consciously diverse: the first, in G Minor, is a gentle, rocking siciliano; the second, in the jolly key of F Major, is characterized by lively broken figuration in the violin; the third, in D Minor, features richly embroidered melodic figuration for both soprano and flute; and the fourth, in B-flat Major, is a simple, upright, homophonic dance. The music is occasionally descriptive. In the first aria, the descending two-note motives, often associated with weeping, may reflect the "Poor heart", referred to in the text. The glittering violin figuration in the second aria may well depict the "worldly treasures" discussed in the text, just as the vocal and instrumental fioratura in the third aria may refer to the "pearls of contentment" mentioned in the last line.

Spitta's praise for the music of BWV 204 was faint indeed: "pleasing and suitable to the words, and that is all.” But then, everything about this cantata is modest: the subject matter, the text, and no doubt the circumstances 6f performance. If the musical setting too is modest, it is justly so - and, moreover, is only so by Bach's standards. We should all write such modest music.>>

A detailed analysis of the text is found in Jean Laaninen’s “Introduction” to Discussions, Part 2 (February 28, 2008): . Other contributions in this discussion include William Hoffman’s study of Bach’s composing conditions c.1726-27 and the parody process, as well as Ed Myskowski’s examination of the oyster “pearl” analogy and metaphor found in the Cantata 204 text (March 10, 2008). Three dance styles are found in the four arias: Movement No. 2 in 3/8 is classified as a passepied-menuett, No. 6 in 12/8 as a pastorale-Giga, and No. 8 in 2/4 as a general dance style, says Doris Finke-Hecklinger, Tanzcharakter in Vokalmusik JSB (Trossingen: Maatthew Hohner AG Musikverlag: 157).

Textual, Sacred Thematic Connections

Textual and sacred thematic connections in Cantata 204 are outlined in Alfred Dürr’sCantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 2005: 906ff). The cantata’s “text editor should be sought in the immediate proximity of Bach, and that well-known strophic songs such as were then in wide circulation were used to enrich Hunold’s text.” A Picander strophic song was the basis for the libretto of Bach’s Cantata 148 for the 17th Sunday after Trinity, September 19, 1723, at a time in the first cycle when Bach began using materials from Picander’s poems, also in Cantatas 25 and 95.

The theme of contentment is central to the cantatas Bach composed for Septuagesima Sunday just before Lenten Time, especially Cantata 84, “Ich vin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke” (I am content with my fortune; Feb. 9, 1727), which was one of the first settings written for Picander’s church-year cantata cycle published in mid 1728. Cantata 84 “is a sacred treatment of the same theme” of contentment, says David Schulenberg in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB, ed. Malcolm Boyd (Oxford University Press, 1999: 226). Contentment, says Dürr (Ibid.: 906) is acceptance of “the fate that befalls us, or resigning ourselves to the destiny ordained by God,” “one of the favorite recurring themes of the time. In homespun moralizing terms, partly entertaining and partly edifying, the entire text praises contentment and self-sufficiency.”

Cantata 204: “Cantor’s Holiday” & Songbooks

Periodically in Leipzig for extended periods of time between 1725 and 1728, Bach had his first opportunities to take a “Cantor’s Holiday” from composing church-year music to turn to secular pursuits as Capellemeister. These particularly involved more intimate music in contrast to the festive sacred (Town Council installation) and profane drammi per musicahe composed during his tenure in Leipzig from 1723 to the 1740s. During the four-year span, 1725-28, Bach was able to balance his output of initial celebratory music for the Saxon Court and its Leipzig adherents (BWV 249b, Anh. 9, 193a), as well as homage works for members of the Leipzig University faculty (BWV 36c, 205, 207, 198), with smaller-scale personal music first begun with the household clavier booklets of oldest son Wilhelm Friedemann (Clavierbüchlein, 1720) and second wife, Anna Magdalena (Clavierbüchlein, 1722, 1725), the last, 1725, also known as Notenbüchlein or Little Music Book.

Most of the contents of the first two books and the beginning of the 1725 book were clavier pieces. Initially Bach composed preludes and fantasias for Friedemann, then drafts of larger works of some partitas and French Suites in 1722, and then in 1725 the early versions of the Partitas Nos. 1 and 2, BWV 827 and 830, respectively. These two were published with four other partitas as the initial Clavierübung (Keyboard Studies) in 1730, the first of four keyboard collections (Italian Concerto & French Overture, Organ Mass, Goldberg Variations) and published by 1742.

The 1725 Notenbüchlein Sebastian initiated “is primarily a collection of pedagogical and recreational music by other composers, presumably used by Anna Magdalena for either her own enjoyment or the instruction of the children, several of whose hands appear within,” says Schulenberg (Ibid.: 112). These include galant polonaises and menuetts as well as chorales (“Schaffs mit mir, Gott” and “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort”) sacred songs (“Bist du bei mir” and Cantata 82 recitative and aria), and secular vocal music (tobacco song, BWV 515-a, and “Aria di Giovanni”). See especially recent BCW Discussion, . The tradition of home studies and music-making began with Martin Luther’s Reformation “Small Catechism” and sacred songs for parents to share with their children and culminated in Bach’s time with home devotional books such as the Schemelli Songbook of 1736.

Music with Wedding Connections

Cantata 204 probably was the first of several intimate Bach secular cantatas, often with connections to civil weddings, composed in the second half of the 1720s when Bach turned to secular vocal as well as instrumental composition, including the Clavierübung I,orchestral suites and concerti, and vocal parody. Cantata 204 probably “was written for some occasion in the home, and that as it is for soprano solo, it was sung by Anna Magdalena,” says W. Gillies Whittaker in his The Cantata of JSB (Oxford University Press 1959, II:571f. “As the text proceeds it almost passes from a secular composition to a sacred one, though the music of the final number would be too light in character for church purposes. To moralize on the implications of the title – ‘On contentment’ – was a characteristic attitude of mind of the composer, and we have here a delightful peep into music-makings in his happy domestic circle.”

These “music-makings,” particularly involving Anna Magdalena and the new galant-style music, especially polonaises and Lombard rhythm, could have engendered other pursuits outside the home that enabled Anna Magdalena to utilize her vocal talents and for the Bachs to supplement family income. About this same time in 1727-28, three works with wedding connections whose origins are obscured may have provided the impetus of exploration into new areas: proto-versions of Cantata BWV 195, Title Unknown, for a comic secular occasion, c.1727, and Cantata BWV 210a, “O Angehnehme Melodei” (O pleasing melody) a homage work, before 1729, and two sister works with connections to the Saxon Court, Cantata BWV 216, Vergnügte Pleißen-Stadt (Contented Pleisse Town), for a 1728 civil wedding, and its parody soon after, “Erwählte Pleißenstadt” (Chosen Pleisse Towe) for Leipzig Town Council civic event (1728-29).

Cantata 195: Bass Aria Origin

Cantata BWV 195, librettist unknown, originally dates to as early as 1727, title unknown, as a possibly comic tribute to a Leipzig couple. Later it evolved into a pastiche sawedding cantata, "Dem Gerechten muß das Licht immer wieder aufgehen" (On the Righteous Must Light Always Break Anew, Psalm 97:11-12), presented on January 3, 1736 in Ohrdruf, for Naumberg Mayor Heinrich Ripping and Johanna Eleonore Schutz, daughter of a St. Thomas pastor. Still later, in 1748-49 in one of Bach's last efforts, it remained a sacred wedding cantata, with a new chorale ending.

Cantata 195 is quite representative of these (wedding) commissions as its history and content offer a fascinating look at Bach's motives, methods and opportunities for "creating" such elaborate works, especially for important weddings. Cantata 195 as a "composer's holiday" also reveals the possibility that Bach in his last two decades in Leipzig assembled and recycled a repertory of proto-cantatas with a special interest in progressive elements such as Lombard rhythm ("Scottish Snap), galant style, and polonaise, blended with traditional ones. The early origins of the bass aria (No. 3), now known as “Rühmet Gottes Güt und Treu” (Praise God's goodness and truth) are found in its “jerky rhythms and the jauntiness of its melody” that are more akin to similar bass arias in the 1737 homage Cantata BWV 30a, “Angenehmes Wiederau” (Pleasing Wiederau), and the c.1734 “Coffee Cantata,” BWV 211 (BCW Discussion, week of December 15.), says Whittaker (Ibid.: 342f). It is “one of Bach’s best secular songs.”

Cantatas 210a and 216, Wedding Connections

Cantata 210a “O Angehnehme Melodei,” for soprano solo, has material assumed to be from a secular proto-cantata, before 1729, to the first extant version of this 1729 homage serenade, to Duke Christian of Weißenfels, and later the secular wedding Cantata BWV 210, O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit (O glorious day, longed-for time). “The existence of the first version, from the period before 1729, cannot be proved from documentary or other sources, but is a hypothetical deduction as a common starting point for the later [four] arrangements,” says Klaus Hoffmann in his liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki 2004 BIS recording ([BIS-CD1411].pdf ; BCW Recording Details, .

Cantata BWV 216, Vergnügte Pleißen-Stadt (Contented Pleisse Town), to a Picander text, was presented on February 5, 1728 for the wedding of Leipzig merchant Johann Heinrich Wolff and Susanna Regina Hempel, daughter of Commissary of Excise, Christian Andreas Hempel of Zittau. The two families clearly had connections to the Saxon Court. Two movements that are parodies: soprano aria No. 3, “Angenehme Hempelin” (O most charming Hempel miss), from the soprano aria with flute, strings and continuo, No. 8, “Himmlische Vergnügsamkeit” (Heavenly contentment) from the 1726/27 soprano solo house Cantata BWV 204, “Ich bin in mir vergnügt” (I am content in myself), and soprano-alto polonaise-style duet, No. 7, “Heil und Segen” (Health and blessing), from No. 13, alto-tenor duet with two flutes in unison and continuo, “Zweig und Äste / Zollen dir” (Boughs and branches / offer in tribute), from the 1725 Leipzig University dramma per musica, Cantata 205, “Der zufriedengestellte Aeolus” (Aeolus Pacified).

Parody Cantata BWV 216a, "Erwählte Pleißenstadt"), with characters Apollo and Mercurius, dates to 1728-29 and may have been performed by Bach Collegium musicum members at Zimmerman's Coffeehouse. Only the written text survives as a possible Picander adaptation. In all likelihood, the original lyrical music was presented with only the textual change while the recitatives were composed anew. The parody is for an unknown Leipzig Town Council civic event held soon after its original, Cantata BWV 216. It is quite possible the work, using allegorical characters Apollo and Mercury, was designed to be presented at Zimmermann’s on the evening of the sacred installation service of the Town Council on a Monday in late August. Clearly this profane version would have pleased the Saxon Court faction on the Council, lead by Mayor Gottfried Lange, who also may have written the text, whereas Bach’s sacred Town Council Cantata presented at the Nikolaikirche in the morning would have pleased the cantor-oriented Estates faction of local religious and business leaders. Further, this work may have secured Bach’s appointment to direct the secular Collegium musicum at Zimmermann’s, beginning in mid-1729. The surviving German text and Z. Philipp Ambrose’s English translation and notes, are found at

Cantata 204 Provenance

Like virtually all of Bach’s extant secular cantatas, Cantata 204 was inherited by second-born son Emmanuel and was purchased from his estate c.1790. It is listed in his catalog as “Cantate von derVerngnügsamkeit: Ich bin in mir vergnügt,” in manuscript score in Sebastian Bach’s hand. It is presumed that Emmanuel received these cantatas, perhaps at his father’s designation, because this son was employed at the Court of Frederick the Great in Berlin, more favorable to progressive music than pietist Halle, where first-born son Friedemann was town music director. In 1822 the manuscript was purchased by Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schwenke, then in the collection of Georg Pölchau in 1841.

A score copy of Cantata 204 is dated before 1750 in the hand of Johann Christoph Altnikol (1720-59), Bach student-copyist (1744-48) and son-in-law. This suggests that Altnikol may have copied and had Cantata 204 performed at his marriage on 20 January 1749 to Bach daughter Elisabeth Juliana Frederica (1726-81). The score copy was found in Emmanuel’s estate and it is presumed that it was part of a collection of Bach manuscript copies, including the St. Matthew Passion (incomplete) and instrumental music, that Emmanuel received at Altnikol’s death in 1759. The score copy was found in the Ernst Rudorff collection in the 19th century, presumably from the Hochschule für Musik, Berlin-Charlotenberg.

The original parts set, probably copied by members of the Bach family c.1727 and scored for soprano, flute, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, and continuo, is not extant. It is possible that this music was kept by Elisabeth Juliana, since it was not listed in Emmanuel Bach’s estate catalog along with the original score and copy.

William Hoffman wrote (Noivember 30, 2013):
To activate Koopman-Erato complete recording of Cantata 208, go again to ,click on and slide recording time line to far right near end of recording, about 7:10, play to the end, video panels will appear and click on panel (Chagall angel), "Bach Can. Music Arts," total playing time 28:50.


Cantata BWV 204: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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