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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Ladies with Brass - part 2

02 May 2014

The herald trumpet has been an symbolic icon of music since ancient times. It is often depicted as the instrument of choice for angels. Surely that is what the photographer had in mind when he arranged two young ladies and young man to point their three trumpets to the sky in this German postcard. The caption tells us that they are the -

 Oliveira Trio - Musical Virtuosen auf verschiedenen Instrumenten.
~ Musical virtuoso on different instruments.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Angel Blowing a Trumpet
Source: The Morgan Museum

The trio was frei, that is available, in September at the address of the Walhalla Theater in Magdeburg, Germany. The year is not recorded but this style of postcard is typical of others printed from 1905-1910.

Some lady trumpeters, like this musician named Olly Marietta, added a Renaissance fashion to the herald theme with a beautiful elaborate costume. Unfortunately in era of sepia tone postcards we can only guess the color, but I would think there is lots of gold thread. Fräulein Marietta adds a detailed caption.

Instrumental künstler und Virtuosin
Instrumental artist and virtuoso
Original Musical Ausstattungs Act auf 7 verschiedenen Instrumenten
Original musical outfit Act on 7 different instruments 
Inhaberin des Kunst Diploms und der Goldenen Medaille fur hervorragende Leistungen in der Musik 
Proprietor of Art diploma and the Gold Medal for excellence in music

If you look closely, her straight trumpet, like those of the Oliveira Trio, has three small valves to add length to the instrument which would allow more notes to be played. Essentially this is the length of a normal B-flat trumpet if it was assembled without the plumbing bends. She must have been a very talented musician to play so many different instruments, which must have been a changeable number as she left the space blank on the caption and wrote the numeral 7 by hand.

This ladies brass trio has three regular piston valve cornets, but they have dressed themselves in matching 18th century style costumes complete with powdered wigs. The caption tells us they are the

 Königs Cornet a Piston Trio
Charlotte, Margarete, and Melani 

Presumably they are sisters, but possibly not German but French, as the brass instrument tradition in Germany used rotary valve trumpets while the French used piston valves. Again we can only speculate about color, but gold embroidery on white satin would look nice.

The back of the postcard is dated 26.7.15 from Berlin Lichterfelde. There is an additional stamp for the Lazarett Johanniter Siechenhaus which was the Hospital of St. John hospice. I can't translate this but it could be the writing of a soldier recovering from wounds or illness. It also suggests that the Königs Cornet a Piston Trio performed at the hospital and if they were French they may have come from the Alsace region which was then part of Germany.

UPDATE: Thanks to the great research of Susanna Rosalie (see the comment below) I can add two more images of the young ladies of the Königs Cornet a Piston Trio and a translation of the message. The writer of this postcard was indeed a soldier and his name was Leonhard Rech. He was writing to his sister, Mina Rech. 

He wrote:
Liebes Schwesterchen!
Ich will dir doch auch einmal
auf deine beiden Kärtchen
antworten und dir viele
Grüße senden in der Hoff-
nung, daß ich bald einmal
zu Euch komme. Viele

Grüße Leonhard

Dear little sister!
I want to finally
answer your two cards
and wish to send you many
greetings in the hope
that I will come to you soon.
Many greetings Leonhard

She found his name in the list of German casualties for the war 1914-1919.  

6 January 1917: Rech, Leonhard,*7 March 1894 Stauf, until now been wounded, deceased.

Source: Wikimedia

Source:  Universität Osnabrück

Wetterfahne auf der Kirche in Nietleben

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
click the link for more angelic ladies.


21 Wits said...

Oh I like Olly's boots, and your title too. Your photos are all so festive appearing too, quite a nice fit for this theme.

ScotSue said...

A wonderful set of old images. The first one was taken at an unusual angle, but is very effective. I did like Olly Marietta's costume - I can picture her, wiht her cheeky grin, in a music hall performance.

La Nightingail said...

Great pictures! It is notable that Olly played 7 different instruments, but a band or orchestra instructor must also know how to play many more instruments than that - although, perhaps, not with the same level of expertise Olly obviously possessed.

Little Nell said...

Yes, it would indeed have been wonderful to see that costume in full colour, but what a talented musician she was. I enjoyed the other links to angelic trumpeters too. My daughter learned trumpet at school and was quite proficient but sady she no longer plays. she really was an angelic little trumpeter!

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

Love Oily and her trumpet. She looks wonderful.

Postcardy said...

the last group looks comical to me--I wonder whether that was the intent.

Anonymous said...

Why do I hear horses galloping through the forest and the horn ringing out. Your photos always fire the imagination.

Alex Daw said...

And a very fine contribution it is too! Great photos.

Boobook said...

A fine collection.

Wendy said...

What? No YouTube of the herald trumpet? Oh well, I'll be satisfied with these stunning postcards. Love Olly Marietta - certainly a great name fitting that fancy shmancy costume.

violet s said...

That's funny - I've never seen any real person playing such an instrument, only in paintings and usually with cherubs and angels!

Nancy said...

I like your ladies with the herald trumpets. How interesting. I don't know much about music or musical instruments so you won't find it surprising that I found it surprising that a regular trumpet would unbend to be the length of one of these. Amazing!

Brett Payne said...

I rather like the fact that she designed the card with a blank space for the number of instruments she'd mastered - says something about her.

luvlinens said...

Fantastic images all.

tony said...

You Know ,Mike, if I got to Heaven & was piped-aboard by Königs Cornet a Piston Trio i would be well satisfied!

Anonymous said...

I learn so much by reading your posts, and never cease to be amazed by the breadth of your post card collection.

Jackie van Bergen said...

I love the first photo and I thought the last group were boys until I read the girls' names
Great link to the theme

anyjazz said...

I am impressed by the photograph of Olly Marietta. What an outfit! It would have taken half the morning just to lace up those shoes!

Kristin said...

Olly Marietta must have had an act worth seeing. I noticed her shoes because I' working with a photo of a girl with high button shoes right now. I never thought about how long it would take to do them up.

Susanna Rosalie said...

It was good to learn about the herald trumpet and to see the costumes of these brass ladies.

You are right about it that the postcard was written by a soldier who was in the Johanniter Hospital in Berlin-Lichterfelde. Next to the stamp is written 'FELDPOST', which stands for military mail. So I think the stamp of the hospital does not have to do with the Cornet-a-piston-Trio rather with the mail system. Maybe the Trio was based in Berlin or its surrounding, referring to Potsdam, which used to be the residence of the Prussian Kings and German Kaiser. I found that this photo was taken by Julius Staudt, a photographer in Berlin.,_1916.jpg

I feel free to go on about the text on the postcard.
The soldier wrote to his sister.
The address is:
Mina Rech
[in] Stauf
b[ei,at] Eisenberg (Pfalz)

He wrote:
Dear little sister!
I want to finally answer your two cards and wish to send you many greetings in the hope that I will come to you soon.
Many greetings Leonhard

Liebes Schwesterchen!
Ich will dir doch auch einmal
auf deine beiden Kärtchen
antworten und dir viele
Grüße senden in der Hoff-
nung, daß ich bald einmal
zu Euch komme. Viele
Grüße Leonhard

Looking up the digitalized lists of the Prussian Government about casualties in their armed forces 1914-1919 (Verlustlisten 1.Weltkrieg), there is the following entry:
6 January 1917:
Rech, Leonhard,*7 March 1894 Stauf, until now been wounded, deceased.

My post is a bit long, nevertheless I thought to share.

Mike Brubaker said...

Susanna, thank you very much for your translation and research. The other image of the Königs Cornet a Piston Trio is subtly different and does not identify the names of the girls.

But it is your discovery of the name of the soldier, Leonhard Rech, that makes the simple message on the postcard all the more poignant. The Great War of 1914-1918 was a tragic event too monstrous to understand as a whole. To find one individual soldier on a postcard sent to his sister makes a better memorial than just inscribing his name on a granite monument. Thank you.

Susanna Rosalie said...

Yes, I was very touched by it too and am glad I could give the soldier an identity.

I imagine he probably sent especially this postcard as a sort of present to his little sister who could have collected postcards at that time. But that's just a guess.

Here is a link with another image of the trio, taken by photographer J. Staudt too, from the picture/photo postcard collection (Historische Bildpostkarten) of the University of Osnabrück, Germany:

Bruno Laliberté said...

Susanna proved to be a great provider here. Danke!!
As ever, a fascinating post.
Glad you didn't lose your touch in my absence. It is a great comfort to see things are as I left them.


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