Welcome and introduction

Who is Waldtaube, and who am I?

Welcome to the first day of a new year and a decade. Today I am going to launch my blog site – Waldtaube.org. Which may immediately raise two questions….. who or what is Waldtaube, and who am I? 

Waldtaube is a character in a wonderful piece of vocal and orchestral music entitled “Gurrelieder” (Songs of Gurre) written by Arnold Schoenberg between 1900 and 1911. It’s very Wagnerian in style. For those of you who associate Schoenberg with 12-tone music, this piece was actually started and largely completed before he began his serialist work, but finished well after he had produced some of his early signature serialist works. “Gurrelieder” is usually performed as a cantata, although it has been staged in the form of an opera at least once that I know of. It’s also one of my all-time favorite pieces of music. Waldtaube (wood dove) is one of the few named characters in the piece and is sung by a mezzo-soprano. Waldtaube comments on the goings-on during the course of the drama (which is overall a tragedy, but with an amazing ending). 

In this blog I hope to comment carefully and clearly on topics that seem of interest to me and hopefully to you, but which may or may not be chosen around any particular theme. Hence the slogan for my blog site: “Careful thoughts on semi-random topics.” 

Then … me. I am, in order of most significant first, the following:

  1. Family member: Husband, father, Opa (“Grandfather” auf Deutsch), uncle, son, brother 
  2. A citizen of the world, the United States of Indiana, the State of Indiana, and the city of Bloomington. 
  3. A person of faith (and as such a student of philosophy)
  4. A scientist
  5. A devoted fan of the performing and fine arts and the humanities
  6. A lover of language and writing
  7. A runner
  8. A cancer survivor (so far)
  9. A person who would like his great-great-grandchildren and their great-great-grandchildren to enjoy a quality of life as close to what we have as possible.

Of the six decades of experiences I have so far, the thing that I think are most interesting and amusing are my experiences as an Opa. But perhaps the most interesting things for potential readers to read about are my experiences with cancer and how that has affected my faith. My next post will begin a series of a few posts focused on cancer and faith. After that, who knows?

The above I hope serves to introduce me. But it is perhaps not much of a sample of my writing style. For that, I offer a small bit I wrote recently in honor of a deceased colleague at Indiana University and one of my educators in life, Professor of Journalism Peter Jacobi:

Thank you, Peter Jacobi. There are many people from whom I have learned much about music. Peter Jacobi rates among the most important in my life. I have read his music reviews for decades and from them learned much about music, performance practice, and how to think about particular performances. I was lucky enough to correspond with him a few times, and have had some conversations with him over the years. Perhaps most notable for me was a bit of correspondence after IU School of Music Dean Richards started announcing the following year’s opera schedule publicly at the first performance of a given year’s last opera. Prof. Jacobi wrote a clear and expressive column on how this change in practice hurt his journalistic efforts. (Previously the schedule had been released in advance to journalists). I wrote Prof. Jacobi a letter asking him why he had a right to get this information earlier than I, a chronic season subscriber to the IU Opera. He sent back to me a handwritten letter explaining much about news and the journalistic process – and how “news” was only “news” while it was “new.” I learned much that was later valuable to me from that letter, not least being the charity of a good and cheerfully written explanation. I also corresponded with him when WFIU briefly flirted with the idea of cancelling Saturday afternoon opera. He approved of my letter to WFIU on the topic. And I also admired his approach to cancer. I try to emulate it as much as I can. The world is short a wonderful music fan and music critic as a result of the passing of Professor Jacobi.

The following is behind a paywall but….: https://www.hoosiertimes.com/herald_times_online/news/local/journalist-and-music-reviewer-peter-jacobi-dies-at/article_31d5ca8a-2821-11ea-95c2-13a214232720.html?fbclid=IwAR17f83IKYMmW8SfTM2IENXHct1bEMIlfteZB8v0rL6Tn47HaDEuCEVWEmM