Proto: Carmen Fantasy - Rabbath: Two Miniatures, Concerto No. 3
Rabbath: double bass, Frank Proto, Florence Bouchet: piano
This recording, recommended wholeheartedly, reunites the unique talents of Frank Proto (composer, bassist, jazz musician, pianist) with those of virtuoso bassist and composer François Rabbath. Rabbath combines a mellifluous and silky tone with supreme musicianship that is ideally suited to the works recorded here.
Proto composed the five-movement Carmen Fantasy in 1991 for Rabbath and used several of the popular arias from Bizet's opera in a lyrical and relaxed transcription. The Fantasy begins with a virtuosic Prelude for solo bass, leading into the Aragonaise including an improvisational passage that both performers play with relish. Micaela's Aria is treated as the slow movement of the Suite and Rabbath demonstrates the wonderful sonorities and expressive qualities of the double bass. The Toreador Song hints at Proto's love of jazz and the work ends with a lively and virtuosic Bohemian Dance.
The Two Miniatures for double bass and piano are atmospheric tone poems with an impressionistic quality well suited to the cantabile nature of the bass. Proto provides a simple but important piano accompaniment allowing the solo line to dominate. Rabbath and Proto perform with perfect understatement, producing a feeling of calm and serenity that demonstrates their exceptional musical rapport.
Concerto No. 3 is a romantic love duet between bass and piano and both performers play with great feeling and power. The one-movement work is divided into sections that are dominated by rhythmic vitality or lyrical interludes. This is an impressive performance in which Rabbath wears his heart on his sleeve.
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