Frank Proto: Concerto in One Movement
...This was the world premiere performance of the latter (Concerto in One Movement), and there is no question that, like most works in today's musical vein, it is more complex music than something like the Paganini (concerto). But then, our society and our culture as a whole are more complex than Paganini's were.
Proto's new Double Concerto takes more than one hearing, I think, to appreciate. But once you do get to know it, it is attractive and as communicative in its own way as the older composition is. And that says a lot in its favor.
The sight of the compact violinist and the tall, slim bass player and his considerable instrument on the rostrum together for the Proto Double Concerto was unusual, to say the least.
But violinist Ruggiero Ricci and principal bass player Barry Green made quite an accomplished team, and thanks to Proto's deft handling of their instruments, the relationship between them was compatible too.
To my ear, the Proto Concerto is a melodious, artistically handled composition that presents the bass in a sound format that is suited to it and highlights its range of sound to excellent advantage. At times, the piece has a magnitude reminiscent of Bartok's concerto for Orchestra, but always the soloists stand out. there are numerous details worth hearing, such as the high effects on bass and violin against light percussion. It's a good solution of a very difficult musical problem of pairing the instruments. And the solo skills of both players substantially to the total musical effect.