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Trumpeter stars in Baroque Holy Week

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Frustration with the sound of his piccolo trumpet motivated Brian Shaw to start playing the Baroque trumpet when he was an undergraduate in college.

“I was told by conductors that I sounded too loud when playing the piccolo trumpet on Baroque works,” Shaw explained via email. “I bought a couple of Niklas Eklund’s early ‘Art of the Baroque Trumpet’ recordings and everything just suddenly made sense. I could play comfortably without covering up the ensemble. The parts written by the composers of the time fit the instrument perfectly. I bought a Baroque trumpet and started working on it at Eastman (School of Music) when I got there to begin a master’s degree.”

The Baroque trumpet, unlike its modern counterpart, does not have valves. The current version of this old instrument has three vent holes that can be opened and closed by the player’s fingers. The vents, Shaw says, help him play better in tune with other musicians.

If you go
WHAT: Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Holy Week
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 30
WHERE: Loretto Chapel, 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $20-$65, call 505-988-4640

Shaw’s trumpet has a starring role in Molter’s Concerto No. 2 in D Major for Trumpet and Strings, which is part of Santa Fe Pro Musica’s Baroque Holy Week concerts this week at Santa Fe’s Loretto Chapel.

“The work is in three movements: an Andante first movement, an Adagio second, with a final Allegro,” he said. “The first two movements contain substantial tests of endurance for the trumpeter, as their range lies in the very highest registers of the instrument and there is very little time to rest between phrases. The second movement presents a special challenge to the trumpeter, as it is a rare solo piece from the late Baroque era written for the trumpet in a minor key.”

An assistant professor of trumpet and jazz studies at Louisiana State University, Shaw also is the co-principal trumpet player of the Dallas Wind Symphony.


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He also plays in several movements in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” which features mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski.

“There are dance-like rhythms in this piece,” said Domanski, who moved to Santa Fe from the New York metropolitan area seven years ago. “When I’m singing the inner movements, I think of the big dresses that the women wore during that time. The cantata is one of the most difficult pieces in the vocal repertoire but it’s also so joyful. Basically, it praises God and all the wonderful things he has done for us.”

A frequent guest of opera companies around the country, Domanski is beginning to be recognized on New Mexico stages. She has performed with Santa Fe Pro Musica in three different programs and in Albuquerque with Opera Southwest.

The program also includes Georg Philipp Telemann’s Trio Sonata in E-Flat Major for Two Violins and Basso Continuo and Jean-Marie Leclair’s Sonata in E Minor for Flute and Basso Continuo.