Heinrich Bone

Sacred hymns
Religious music
by popularity
Großer Gott wir loben dich
Heinrich Bone (25 September 1813 – 10 June 1893) was a German educator and hymnwriter. He wrote a reader for German studies which was used for higher education in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria, until it was banned during the Kulturkampf. He published a hymnal, Cantate!, which was used by several Catholic dioceses and became a model for common hymnals. Some of his own hymns, including paraphrases of Latin hymns, are part of recent hymnals, both Catholic and Protestant, such as "Komm, Schöpfer Geist, kehr bei uns ein" as a paraphrase of the 9th-century hymn for Pentecost, Veni Creator Spiritus.
Born in Drolshagen, Bone was the eldest of six children. His parents, Mathäus Bone and his wife Elisabeth, née Kramer, ran a small button factory, an inn and engaged in farming.
Bone attended the Progymnasium in Attendorn from 1825, afterwards the Gymnasium Laurentianum [de] in Arnsberg, and from 1830 the Gymnasium Petrinum Recklinghausen [de], where he achieved the Abitur in 1831. He studied philology, philosophy and theology at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, graduating in 1835. He completed the exam for teaching (Höheres Lehramt) with distinction at age 21. From 1835, he was a teacher on probation at the royal Gymnasium in Düsseldorf (now the Görres-Gymnasium [de]). He received a permanent engagement at the Marzellengymnasium (now Dreikönigsgymnasium) in Cologne from 1838. He also taught German at the Höhere Töchterschule der Geschwister Schmitz, which was directed by Christine Schmitz, who later became his wife, and her sisters.
In 1841, Bone was appointed Oberlehrer at the new Rheinische Ritterakademie [de] (now Silverberg-Gymnasium), in Bedburg. Bone became director of the Gymnasium Petrinum in 1856. In 1859, he was appointed director of the Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium in Mainz, initiated by Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler. He received the Order of Philip the Magnanimous for his pedagogic achievements in 1864.
Due to the Kulturkampf, Bone was forced into premature retirement on 3 April 1873. In 1876, his German reader Deutsches Lesebuch für höhere Lehranstalten was banned from use in schools in Hesse and Prussia. He moved to Wiesbaden in 1882, after his two sons died, teaching German again at the Höhere Töchterschule. He returned to Mainz in 1890. When he became severely ill in 1892, he moved to Hattenheim, where he died on 10 June 1893.
Bone had a large circle of friends, with whom he corresponded. Clerical leaders included Cardinal Melchior von Diepenbrock of Breslau, Cardinal Johannes von Geissel and Cardinal Philipp Krementz of Cologne, Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler of Mainz, Christoph Moufang, Bishop Paul Leopold Haffner of Mainz, Johann Anton Friedrich Baudri of Cologne, and Bishop Konrad Martin of Paderborn, who wrote 250 letters to Bone which are extant. Cultural personalities included Philipp Veit, a painter and gallerist with whom he founded a Christlicher Kunstverein (Christian Art Association), the painter Friedrich Overbeck, the musicians Felix Mendelssohn and Max Bruch, and the politician Carl Schurz, who remembered Bone in his memoirs.
Bone achieved influence through works such as Deutsches Lesebuch für höhere Lehranstalten, which appeared in two volumes and 67 editions from 1840. It was also used in schools in Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria. Due to the Kulturkampf, it was banned from use in schools in Prussia and Hesse from 1876.
Bone published the hymnal Cantate! (Sing!), a collection of 444 songs, which appeared between 1847 and 1879 in seven editions. It was the first Catholic hymnal used in multiple German-speaking dioceses. A book with melodies for the songs appeared in 1852. Bone published traditional Latin hymns as the basis for singing in church, and also translated medieval and Baroque texts into contemporary language, such as "Komm, Schöpfer Geist, kehr bei uns ein" as a paraphrase of the 9th-century Veni Creator Spiritus, to make the return of traditional hymns to Catholic services possible. He also wrote new hymns. Some of his creations remain in recent hymnals.
The common German hymnal Gotteslob of 1975 contained several songs from Bone's Cantate!, some with revised wording. Some were included in its second edition of 2013, and some also in the Protestant hymnal EG. In the following list, the GL number refers to the 2013 edition, with the former number in brackets:
The Te Deum paraphrase by Ignaz Franz, "Großer Gott wir loben dich", became popular in the version of text and melody in Cantate!