Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why "von der Vogelweide"?

Ich saz ûf eime steine

und dahte bein mit beine.

dar ûf satzt ich den ellenbogen, 

ich hete in mîne hand
daz kinne und ein mîn wange.

dô dâhte ich mir vil ange, 

wie man zer werlte solte leben.
"Von der Vogelweide" has a dual meaning to me – it means literally in German “bird pasture” or “meadow of birds” which aptly describes our land here. During the Middle Ages, bird handlers would go to a Vogelweide near a castle or town and capture hawks there for falconry or for song birds to be enjoyed in the home.
As a German major in college, one of my concentrations was the Middle Ages and my favorite lyrical and political poet or Minnesänger was Walter von der Vogelweide (1170-1230). He broke the boundaries of this genre and wrote critically of the struggles between the papacy and political players of the time including Philip of Swabia, Otto IV, Innocent III and Gregory IX. He served first in Vienna and was trained by the famous singer Reinmar von Hagenau and moved on to other courts between Germany and Austria and eventually settled in Würzburg, where he served Frederick II.

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