ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Police say they are going through Peter Ruckman's phone messages, e-mails and social media posts; including his final three Facebook posts showing sheet music to three classical works.
23 News spoke with Rockford Symphony Orchestra Director Steven Larsen to get a better understanding of the messages behind that music.
"It translates to the twilight of the Gods. The world is consumed by fire, Valhalla burns, the Rhine River overflows and floods the world. Wipes out the whole world and the world is born anew." says Larsen describing the meaning behind the popular Götterdämmerung opera.
The opera is one of the pieces of music that Ruckman posted on Facebook and made his cover page. Another piece Ruckman posted was the Straus symphonic piece Tod und Verklärung which Larsen says translates to death and transfiguration.
"A dying man sees his life before him and at the end is transfigured and is reborn into a more brilliant world. That strikes me as being perhaps the most significant of the three. The idea of the transfiguration with death," says Larsen.
Larsen says the painting used as Ruckman's Facebook cover picture, the 1818 Caspar David Freidrich work "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" may provide even more insight on Ruckman's state of the mind when he was about to commit this unthinkable act of killing himself and his sons.
"That has the view of the back of a man, all by himself, his hands on his hips staring out at the sea of mist before him. The loneliness. Anyone contemplating doing something like this probably has to be alone. I'll never see that painting again and quite think of it the same," says Larsen.
Larsen says he doesn't think the posts could solve the puzzle of why Ruckman did something so heinous as to kill his own children, but he thinks the music does give us an understanding of the state of his mind when committed the unthinkable acts.