Music formed a huge part of the communal life a Zingst and Finkenwalde. Each day around noon everyone gathered to sing hymns or other sacred music . . . [Bethge] told them about Gumpelzhaimer, who lived in the sixteenth century and wrote sacred music and hymns, especially polychoral motets. Bonhoeffer was intrigued. His musical knowledge went back to Bach, but Bethge was familiar with the music that preceded him. He widened Bonhoeffer’s horizons to that earlier sacred music and to composers such as Heinrich Schütz, Johann Schein, Samuel Scheidt, Josquin de Prez, and others, and that music was incorporated into the repertoire of Finkenwalde.
There were two pianos in the manor house. Bethge said that Bonhoeffer “never turned down a request to join in playing one of Bach’s concertos for two pianos.” He also said that Bonhoeffer particularly loved singing a part in Schütz’s vocal duets, “Eins bitte ich vom Herren”* and “Meister, wir haben die ganze nacht gearbeitet.”** . . . He loved Beethoven, and Bethge said “he could sit down at the piano and simply improvise the Rosenkavalier. That impressed us greatly.
as quoted in Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer, p. 267
Oh, to have a seminary like that! A place where students actually enjoyed learning music from the masters of the past. We deprive ourselves and slight our Lord of much rich worship when we limit ourselves to the immediate and familiar. Not too mention the offense that we must bring before our Lord when we offer music shaped by affections that were trained by the banality of popular culture.
*”One thing I ask of the Lord”
**”Master we have toiled all night.”