Rabbath & Proto

Frank Proto with Conductor Samuel Wong and François Rabbath
Nine Variants on Paganini
for Double Bass and Orchestra
The Honolulu Symphony Orchestra
François Rabbath, Double Bass
Orchestra Conducted by Samuel Wong

World Premiere Performance
March 31, 2002 - Hawaii Contrabass Festival
Blaisdell Concert Hall, Honolulu

See Review
Program Note by Susan Halpern

The Nine Variants on Paganini, based on the 24th violin Caprice, is a work in a lighter vein, using a theme that should be familiar to audiences because of its wide appropriation by various composers since Paganini. Proto composed the work because no variations, with orchestra, of this kind existed for the bass and he felt this would be a most fitting subject for the instrument.

The Paganini theme has appeared in four different forms over the last eight years in Proto's compositions. The first time he used it was when he composed music for a video, Birds, Birds, Birds, where the music is as important as the visual form, and he was given free rein to do whatever he liked. This forty-minute work also includes variations, most for synthesizers although there is some live violin playing. The second time Proto used the Paganini theme, at Doc Severinsen's request, was in the Capriccio di Niccolo for Orchestra and solo trumpet for Keith Lockhardt's opening concert with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Another, and totall different work, which had its premiere in early 2002, is Paganini in Metropolis. This work is for clarinet and wind symphony and was performed at the University of Texas at Austin and at the Texas Music educators' Convention with Eddie Daniels on clarinet.

Rabbath first performed a version of the Nine Variants for piano and bass in a recital in 2001 and then Proto and Rabbath decided the work should be orchestrated.

Click to view or download a PDF sample of the Music