The Chorale Book for England is a profoundly rich, valuable book, both the words and the music. This is a collection of 200 German hymns translated into English by Catherine Winkworth, with German hymn tunes edited by William Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt. Winkworth published the first volume of Lyra Germanica in 1855 (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855), and the "Second Series" in 1858. These were her translations of German hymns into English, a treasure of true worship. The Lyra Germanica Series I had 103 hymns, arranged around the church calendar; Series II had 121 hymns, arranged according to subjects. The Chorale Book for England was a set of German hymns translated by C.W. in her Lyra Germanica (and also other hymns not in the Lyra Germanica), with music scores-chiefly from German hymnbooks-edited by William Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt. Here is true worship, glorifying God and edifying and enriching His people.
Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) translated German hymns and poems of worship into English and published them in the two volumes of Lyra Germanica, the first volume-called "Series I"-in 1853, and "Series II" in 1858. Then in 1862, from the two volumes of Lyra Germanica, and also other sources, 200 hymns were published in The Chorale Book for England with "the fine old German chorales to which they are sung in their own country by vast congregations" (Winkworth's words in her Preface to Series II of Lyra Germanica, describing The Chorale Book for England then in preparation). Her translations of German hymns and verse into English are remarkably fine, a treasure chest of gems. William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875), for so long very obscure, sadly and inappropriately so, was a true colleague and friend of Mendelssohn, a very finely gifted composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher. He was the most important English composer of the 19th century before Arthur Sullivan and Edward Elgar. (William Henry Havergal was primarily a church musician, Bennett primarily a concert musician.) After Bennett began to prepare the German hymn scores for The Chorale Book for England, Otto Goldschmidt wrote to him and very much wanted to help in this. Goldschmidt (1829-1907) was a German pianist and composer who had studied under Mendelssohn at Leipzig. Bennett and Goldschmidt were among the finest musicians in England in their time.