by the composer Maurice FRANCK (1972)
“We quickly became great friends. You know that he was frank, loyal and cheerful, a companion who was never jealous or envious. He always delighted in his friends’ success.
“He was an indefatigable worker – a true model for others – his own taskmaster! As a boy, he arose early, did all his schoolwork and when he arrived at the Conservatoire, he handed in a fugue a week. I would like to make this clear because it shows just how hard he worked – he handed in new compositions on a regular basis despite his after-hours job at the Hotel Lutetia. He played for patrons twice a week because he needed the money – he would stay until 3am so the customers could dance.
“He had a hard job of it when he was young. He lived in a student’s room – I remember it perfectly – in Montmartre, Rue Lavieuville. I often visited him there. He also came over to my place – I was lucky enough to live with my parents. You know that his folks lived in Marseille and that he came from a working-class family. His father was employed at the post office, but that didn’t keep him from transcribing Corsican melodies – at home I still have a collection of ‘Popular Corsican Songs’ harmonized by Xavier Tomasi, Henri’s father, whose family roots were in Corsica and whom I often saw in Paris, actually.”
“Henri TOMASI speaks of himself”
Radio program by Edouard EXERJEAN and Robert YTIER
France-Musique, March 29, 1972