This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
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An Oktoberfest Band

11 October 2013

Here it is the second week of October and yet Oktoberfest in Munich finished last weekend. This famous Bavarian festival celebrates traditional German beer, food, beer, music, beer, fun, and beer. The musicians of the Bayrische Bauerntrachten-Kapelle "Die Dachauer"  look like they are just getting started. Under the Direktion of Seppl Weinzierl of München, Kurfürstenstrasse 22, the band's name implies that they are from Dachau, which is a small town about 12 miles northwest of Munich in upper Bavaria.

This six man ensemble calls itself a Bauerntrachten-Kapelle or a "Peasant Costumed Band". In addition to beer steins, their equipment includes violins, double bass, lute-guitar, rotary valve trumpets, tuba, and trombone, and an Alpenhorn, a folk instrument of Europe's central mountain range. The Alpenhorn or Alphorn is made from a single spruce tree. The wood is split in half, each side carved and hollowed out, and then re-assembled into a long conical horn. It is played like a brass instrument by buzzing the lips into a wooden mouthpiece, but is limited to a narrow set of tones like those on a bugle. This particular alpenhorn is much shorter than those typically played today, which are about 12 feet long and pitched in the key of F (or 11' and F# if it's a Swiss model). This one looks to be in a higher pitch, perhaps B-flat.

The postcard of "Die Dachuer" musicians was posted on 2 October 1905 to a Fräulein Frankiska Baum of Ramersdorf, which is a southeast suburb of Munich. 

This second postcard of the Bayrische Bauerntrachten-Kapelle "Die Dachuer" is a few years older and has the sextet posed at a photographer's studio. They have 3 violins, viola, double bass, and accordion. Clustered in the center are 5 rotary valve brass instruments. I don't see any beer. 

The music direction is by Hans Bauer, and some of the players are different. I think the 3 musicians on the right look similar to three of the musicians in the first card. My guess is the leader, Herr Bauer, is the accordion player here, and the large violinist on the right, who might be seated left on the first card, is Herr Weinzierl .

This card was posted in Bern, Switzerland on 19 August 1902 to Herrn Haus Hoirmann(?) of Bern. The group may have traveled and played at hotels and restaurants in the Swiss Alps.

The musicians from Dachau look to be a good humored bunch. Of course this is a decade or so before the trials of WW1 and a generation before the horror and tragedy that will forever mark Dachau's name. But we will speak no more of that here.

Dachau also has a long tradition of an annual folk festival, but theirs begins in August before the one in Munich. There are dozens of videos on YouTube where you can watch the Dachauer Volkfest parade, the beer, the carnival, the beer, the music, and the beer, but this one from 2010 has better closeup shots of the horses. Look out for the Bauerntrachten - "peasant costumes" and you will see that the Bavarian costumes from 1900 are still brought out for important events.

Germans certainly love their buttons and badges.




This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
click the link to see what other people have on their launch menu.


Wendy said...

I have to say it: Ricolaaaaaa!

There, I feel better.

I've never been to Germany for a REAL Oktoberfest, but I must say, the folks at Busch Gardens are doing a good job recreating the festival and German flair, based on your video.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Great video. There's nothing like a bit of brass to start my day. It's so .... universal. No language required. Thanks.

Howard said...

Lovely postcards and the video was great fun. Makes me want a beer...

Alan Burnett said...

A blog post celebrating "beer, food, beer, music, beer, fun, and beer". Wonderful, it could have been created for just me. I too must confess that I have never been to Oktoberfest, but I have been to Munich at other times of the year and the atmosphere must be fantastic during the festival itself.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed watching the parade quite a lot. We get a polka show here on the sat and the music is similar, always happy music.

Little Nell said...

Look at that beautiful handwriting on those cards. When we were stationed in Germany with the RAF, we got to attend quite a few Oktoberfests - they were great fun and an opportunity to dress up too

Alex Daw said...

and beer! What a great post. Once again I didn't see that alpenhorn until you made me look for it...but it is a small one....Not a good place to live if you have a button phobia but I loved the video...particularly the horses.

Postcardy said...

Good choice for October. I noticed that in the first photo, there are 6 musicians but only 4 beer steins.

Bob Scotney said...

I never made it to Munich during my visits to Germany, but have fond memories of German beer. Good to see musicians from Dachau, a place with a more sinister connection during the Third Reich.

Jackie van Bergen said...

Australia loves a party and try to get in on the Oktoberfest celebrations too. I'm sure not as fun as in Munich.
What a jolly looking bunch of musicians - must be all that beer!


I remember friends calling me from the Oktoberfest, and I must say, they seemed to have enjoyed themselves, a lot!!!

Nice to see Germans in this kind of setting as their history has a few blemishes... but the Germans of today have nothing to do with those, hopefully... To each generation its legacy.

Funny, I read your post while having my dinner, chicken and salad, and beer!!!


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