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Bach composed a number of Secular Cantatas�, and the famous soprano aria �Sheep may safely graze� is the 9th movement in the cantata �Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd� BWV 208 which was probably composed when Bach was living in Arnstadt between 1703-07, but some of the dates assigned to individual works are of course only conjectural. In its original form the movement was scored for soprano, two recorders, and continuo but there have been many adaptations to various combinations of instruments. In this arrangement for string quartet the articulation, phrasing and dynamics are editorial; by the by, regarding dynamics � these are all terraced as was the practice in Bach�s day, and excessive vibrato should be avoided at all costs in this purest of pure Baroque music, and I am sure that scholars and musicologists will be quick to point out that rallentando was verboten if indeed it was known about; but I have tried to be faithful to the musical characteristics of this beautiful aria.
This series of arrangements for string quartet is aimed at string quartets� that are building a repertoire of incidental popular classics and �easy listening� music for social functions of every kind. In preparation also at the time of writing is a collection of the most popular hymns taken from the English Hymnal for string quartet with optional chamber organ. From time to time I shall add further pieces thus building the availability of music that is well known to the general public. String quartets should contact me if they have any particular requests, but here I must stress that strict copyright restrictions may apply for certain commissions.
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