Cantata No.82

Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No.82

BWV82 • “Ich habe genug”

Recommended recording

Curated by Mary Elizabeth Kelly, Primephonic Curator

About this work

Composed for the Feast of the Purification of Mary, which fell on February 2, 1727, Bach's Cantata No. 82 "Ich habe genug" (It is enough) (BWV 82) sets an anonymous text on the Gospel of Luke 2, 22-32. Like Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4) and "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" (BWV 56), it is not a chorale cantata, but a cantata for bass soloist, solo oboe, strings, and basso continuo. Severely dark in tone and extremely restrained in execution, "Ich habe genug" is one of the bleakest of Bach's cantatas. The text of its closing aria sums up its message: "With joy I greet my death; would that it were here already; then I shall escape the distress which afflicts me here on earth." "Ich habe genug" is resolutely in C minor with its first, fourth, and fifth movements in the tonic and its second movement ending in the dominant of the third movement's relative major of E flat major. The organizational plan of the work is an alternation of aria and recitative with the first, third, and fifth movements being arias and the second and fourth movement's being recitatives. Both recitatives begin secco and end with more lyrical lines, a very brief Andante in the first and only a slightly longer Adagio arioso in the second. The opening aria is slow and dismal, with a keening obbligato oboe above the strings and the anguished bass below. The central aria is slightly faster with a tender melody in the strings to comfort the sighing, disconsolate bass; the closing aria, marked Vivace in triple time with an elaborately embellished bass melody, is nearly a dance of death as befits the text.