Kentucky Baroque Trumpets DVD

[Editors note: A cover photo of this DVD/recording was not available; it is likely available for purchase directly from the ensemble by following the link below - BP]

The Kentucky Baroque Trumpets (KBT) recently put out a DVD of a few of their performances. Founded by Don Johnson in 2005, the KBT has rapidly developed as a Baroque trumpet ensemble, winning the International Trumpet Guild National Trumpet Competition, Historic Ensemble Division in 2007.

This short DVD (a little over 15 minutes) gives the viewer a taste of their repertoire and talent. The first selection is a French military fanfare “To the Standard” composed by David Buhl in 1829 which gained later notoriety in an arrangement for US telecasts of the Olympic Games. The KBT performs this selection (and two others) in the rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg, PA. The rotunda, because of its construction, has lots of echo, but the KBT does a wonderful job of staying together with good intonation. The descant near the end of the fanfare is very effective.

The other two selections played in the rotunda are the 1st movement of the Concerto for 7 Trumpets by J. E. Altenburg (ca. 1795) and an anonymous duet from Modena (ca. 1690). The Altenburg Concerto sounds quite regal. The group performs the contrasting dynamics and tempos very well. The setting actually helps the viewer to imagine hearing this fanfare in a palace where it was probably originally performed. The Duet from Modena was adapted as a fanfare for the movie Rocky. Don Johnson arranged the Duet for six parts. The group, as they do on the other fanfares, performs with skill and enthusiasm.

The other two selections were performed elsewhere and provide a contrast to the bravado of the fanfares. The KBT performs the Sonata a 5 Clarini by Kremsler (ca. 1690) with sensitivity and delicacy. Since they are performing indoors, one can hear how well they articulate and blend. Don Johnson is the soloist on the 2nd movement of the Concerto in D Major by Johann Hertel (ca. 1760). Johnson plays with great feeling, handling the slow, sustained parts of this movement beautifully. He also shows his skill in ornamentation.

Since this DVD was filmed during live performances, there are a few distractions, especially at the Harrisburg Rotunda where people were continually walking in front of the camera. However, all in all, this is a well-produced DVD. This DVD, as far as I know, is available only at their performances. Even though some of the selections are on the KBT website and You Tube, if you get a chance, you should buy the DVD. It is convenient to have all these selections on disc and the KBT deserves your support.

-- Randy Barbiero