Of Corsican descent, Henri Tomasi was born in in Marseilles, where he studied before entering the Paris Conservatoire. There he was a composition pupil of Paul Vidal, winning the Prix de Rome in He established himself as a conductor and as a composer for the theatre, with a series of concertos that displayed his very considerable powers of orchestration. He wrote his Ballade for alto saxophone and orchestra in for his friend Marcel Mule, one of the leading saxophonists in France.
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Henri Tomasi 17 August — 13 January was a French classical composer and conductor. Henri Tomasi was born in a working-class neighborhood of Marseille , France, on 17 August At the age of five, the family moved to Mazarques, France where Xavier Tomasi worked as a postal worker.
There, he enrolled his son in music theory and piano lessons. At the age of seven, Tomasi entered the Conservatoire de Musique de Marseille. Pressured by his father, he played for upper-class families, where he felt "humiliated to be on show like a trained animal. In , the family moved back to Marseille. Tomasi had dreams of becoming a sailor and skipped many of his music classes. During the summer, he stayed with his grandmother in Corsica and learned traditional Corsican songs.
In , he won first prize in harmony, along with his friend Zino Francescatti , the celebrated violinist. World War I delayed his entrance into the Paris Conservatoire , so he played piano in Marseille to earn money. He performed in diverse venues such as upscale hotels , restaurants , brothels , and movie houses. His gift for composition was developed during this time as he excelled in improvisation at the keyboard.
The early Charlie Chaplin films also intrigued him and influenced his works. In , he commenced his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris with a scholarship from the municipality of Marseille and a stipend from a lawyer, Maitre Levy Oulman. He still performed at cafes and in the cinemas to earn money. His friend Maurice Franck described Tomasi as a hard worker: "He showed up with a fugue a week, he was indefatigable - an inveterate workaholic.
In , he won the second Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata, 'Coriolan', and a First Prize for Orchestral Conducting, which were both awarded unanimously. They wed in Tomasi began his career as a conductor for Concerts du Journal. Tomasi became one of the first radio conductors and a pioneer of "radiophonic" music. During the s he was one of the founders of a contemporary music group in Paris entitled Triton along with Prokofiev , Milhaud , Honegger , and Poulenc. He spent equal time composing and conducting.
He was one of the conductors for studio broadcasts of the Orchestre Radio Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. He made his most memorable recording in with the extraordinary French mezzo-soprano Alice Raveau in Gluck 's Orfeo , which was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque.
In Tomasi was drafted into the French Army and was named marching-band conductor at the Villefranche sur Mer fort. As a composer, his orchestral music is important, but above all he was attracted to the theater. In the realm of instrumental music, he preferred composing for wind instruments. He composed concerti for flute , oboe , clarinet , saxophone , bassoon , trumpet , horn , and trombone. He also composed concerti for violin and viola.
In , his son Claude was born and Tomasi started composing a Requiem dedicated to "the martyrs of the resistance movement and all those who have died for France. His Requiem was set aside and was not discovered again and recorded until In , Tomasi assumed the post of conductor of the Opera de Monte Carlo. He became extremely sought-after as a guest conductor all over Europe. In , he wrote what would become his most popular composition, the Concerto for Trumpet.
In the Concerto for Saxophone was performed by Marcel Mule. An hour-long documentary film about the composer produced by Jacques Sapiega was made in In he composed the Concerto for Clarinet and the Concerto for Trombone. This opera, "L'Atlantide", and the comic opera "Le Testament di Pere Gaucher" collectively established his reputation as an opera composer.
It was repeated at the Holland Festival in June. In , Tomasi stopped conducting because of physical problems, including advancing deafness in his right ear. His last piece for the theater, "In Praise of Madness the nuclear era ", is a cross between opera and ballet and contains references to Nazism and napalm. It reflects Tomasi's postwar disillusionment with mankind. During his last period of composition he was motivated by political events and wrote pieces such as the Third World Symphony and Chant pour le Vietnam.
In , he held a series of interviews with his son, Claude, called "Autobiography with a Tape Recorder. As his health deteriorated, he began working on an operatic version of Hamlet. On 13 January he died peacefully in his apartment in Montmartre , Paris.
He was buried in his wife's family tomb in Avignon. Later, to celebrate the centennial of his birth, his ashes were moved to the village of his ancestors in Penta di Casinca , Corsica. Tomasi's music is fundamentally lyrical. Diatonic and chromatic melodic lines predominate, supported by tertian and polychordal harmonies. His music is highly colorful and one can hear the influence of his French contemporaries.
He also wrote music inspired by medieval religious songs. He utilized many styles including Oriental recitative and twelve tone techniques but they were always personal and unique to him.
Tomasi said: "Although I haven't shirked from using the most modern forms of expression, I've always been a melodist at heart. I can't stand systems and sectarianism. I write for the public at large. Music that doesn't come from the heart isn't music. He wept over the tribulations of the main character, Mimi. It gave him a great passion for lyrical theater. He was influenced by Ravel , and later by Richard Strauss. Richard Wagner was never an influence on him.
His harmonic inspiration derived from Debussy and Ravel. He felt that his experience from conducting enabled him to orchestrate with more skill. He felt that dodecaphonic music could be used occasionally when needed or called for. He thought that the inherent danger in electronic music was that it was devoid of the human factor: " Tomasi frequently based his works on a text of some sort, even if words were not actually used. To translate Tomasi's views on his own music: "My musical knowledge is not based on any system.
The sensibility expresses itself and the mind controls. What good is it to invent new forms of speech? Everything has been said and everything has been done. Tomasi was primarily interested in "man and his passionate style. Nocturne was first published in by Pierre Noel. The copyright was later taken over by Gerard Billaudot in It is marked Lent and has a surreal quality. It is intensely lyrical and expressive. There are polychords present. There is constant eighth-note movement.
The slow section evolves to a poco pui agitato interlude followed by a short cadenza marked a piacere freely. The initial tempo returns and the song ends in calm repose with an unusual closing chord : the C minor seventh. Complainte du Jeune Indien was composed in and published the same year by Alphonse Leduc.
It is cordially dedicated to Monsieur Beaucamp. The French word Complainte refers to a lament or plaint. Perhaps one can conjecture that the jeune young Indian is expressing nostalgia for his homeland. Gordon It is marked tristamente sadly in a slow Andante tempo.
The harmonic motion is very slow with only a G minor chord until rehearsal 2. The chords move in parallel motion similar to Debussy. Before the brief cadenza at rehearsal 4, there is a "B" eleventh chord. This cadenza is optional; another optional cut is between rehearsal 8 to 11, which eliminates the second brief cadenza. These cuts will not be taken in this performance. The initial theme returns, and it closes even more slowly and sadly. The Danse Nuptiale Wedding Dance was originally composed as a work for chamber orchestra and soloists in It was published by Alphonse Leduc in and dedicated to Andre Boutard.
The original instrumentation was for oboe , clarinet , bassoon , French horn , tuba , tympani , a battery of percussion, piano, and string quintet. The first movement, Danse Agreste Rustic Dance in the original work features the oboe. The second movement, Danse Profane has the French horn as soloist. There is a woodwind quintet version of this entire work dating from The transcription was dedicated to the Rejeliovo Decliove Quintet from Prague.
In the third movement of the quintet, the bassoon is the soloist instead of the tuba.
23. Ballade - Henri Tomasi
Piano Accompaniment sheet music. Composed by Henri Tomasi Alphonse Leduc AL Published by Alphonse Leduc HL. Introduced by a poem by Suzanne Mallard, his wife, Ballade is a minute work that covers and alternates between different styles such as andantino, guigue and blues.
Ballade (Orchestral Version)
Henri Tomasi 17 August — 13 January was a French classical composer and conductor. Henri Tomasi was born in a working-class neighborhood of Marseille , France, on 17 August At the age of five, the family moved to Mazarques, France where Xavier Tomasi worked as a postal worker. There, he enrolled his son in music theory and piano lessons.