Cabrera has been guided by the music he has admired since childhood, whether or not it was originally written for double bass.
Double bassist Luis Cabrera (Spain, 1985) plays with many well-known European orchestras and has been with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra since 2006. He studied in Madrid and in London at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Rinat Ibragimov (1960-2020), a teacher who has had a great influence on him. To him Cabrera dedicates his debut Canto Interno (’The Inner Voice’), another special release from the adventurous Dutch TRPTK label.
In putting together his album, Cabrera has been guided by the music he has admired since childhood, whether or not it was originally written for double bass. He is accompanied by pianist Justyna Maj and violinist Sylvia Huang. Almost naturally, his production starts with two pieces by virtuoso Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889). Romantic music that seems made for the caressing, almost creamy, sound that Cabrera manages to elicit from his instrument.
The legendary Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951), who enjoyed a dual career as a conductor and double bassist, is represented with an elegant four-piece composition. Playful pieces in which Cabrera can let his double bass sing full-bloodedly. Never does his playing become too heavy and even in the most complex passages he manages to generate a beautiful open sound. The flexibility of the imposing instrument seems boundless in his hands.
Of particular note is the choice of the Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 by Robert Schumann (1810-1856), originally written for clarinet and violin. The composer once indicated that the works could also be performed on viola and cello, but Cabrera succeeds in convincingly translating the music to the double bass. A feat that commands admiration.
A highlight is the arrangement of the famous Sonata for piano and violin by César Franck (1822-1890), a real tour de force. In it, Cabrera goes to the extreme of his ability, with a flexibility unprecedented for his instrument. What is special is that the double bass player manages to combine charm and depth. Canto Interno’ is for him not only a debut, but also “an incredibly beautiful journey with a wealth of experiences, ultimately the album is a portrait of myself”.
Classical – Romantic (1830-1920)
De Doelen – Grote Zaal, Rotterdam (NL)
November 2020 – January 2021
PCM 352.8kHz 32bit
June 18th, 2021
"And what we hear here, is the fruits of Cabrera's highly expressive playing which seems know of no sense of limitation. As he moves from virtuosity to the extremes of romanticism, Cabrera's style is always winning and his is finely supported by Maj and Huang."
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill
"Bottesini’s vivacious theatricality shines through the performances, a glittering prelude to the recital. [...] The interplay between Cabrera and Maj conveys a profound grasp of the works, and mutuality of purpose."
Mark Werlin, HRAudio
"In this unique version, the sonata is given an extra melancholy touch, which at once produces surprising effects and new insights. In addition, the seamless interplay with the Canadian-Polish pianist Justyna Maj makes for a listening experience of the highest order."
Maarten-Jan Dongelmans, De Gelderlander
"The music—a grab bag from Bottesini, Koussevitzky, Schumann, and Franck—is mostly familiar and yet diverting, and this may well be the most natural-sounding chamber music album I've ever heard. Superb."
Jim Austin, Stereophile
"The brilliant Luis Cabrera joins a growing list of young players who are showing just how versatile the double bass can be as a solo instrument, here displaying his virtuoso skills in repertoire ranging from Bottesini to Franck."
Jeremy Pound, BBC Music Magazine
"In his introductory notes Cabrera describes the album’s title as encapsulating ‘the space where we can hear and feel music in its purest state’, and few would argue after experiencing his effortless virtuosity and spotless intonation in this wide-ranging bass recital."
Julian Haylock, The Strad
"[Luis'] luxurious tone is a delight in the long-breathed lines of Koussevitzky’s Andante, and his balance of elegance and balletic energy in the Valse miniature feels just right. [...] Indeed, Maj is a marvellously sensitive partner throughout, and TRPTK’s vividly recorded sound flatters everyone concerned. A most impressive recital on all counts."
Andrew Farach-Colton, Gramophone
"The French esprit is just as telling as the expressive refinement, with both partners giving each other all the space they need to bring the intricate palette of sounds to optimum effect."
Aart van der Wal, Opus Klassiek