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Henri Tomasi

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Henri TOMASI - composer and conductor

(1901-1971)

 

« The Mediterranean Sea and its light,
this is, for me, the "perfect bliss". »

 

With ‘Marseille – Provence, European Capital of Culture’, Henri Tomasi becomes a prominent figure of the year 2013.

 

Marseillais of Corsican origin - a Corsican born in Marseille - Tomasi was a passionately Mediterranean man in terms of his personality, his ‘world citizen’ ideals and his music. If his opus sings the beauty of the Mare Nostrum, it also clearly states his commitment to humanism as expressed in the verse by Lamartine that is engraved on the base of the statue that honours the poet in Palais Longchamp at Marseille:

 

                   Do you see any trace of frontiers in the sky?

                   Egoism and hatred alone boast a fatherland

                   Fraternity has none.

 

Song of the world, mysticism, revolt: these three major aspects of his life brought about important renewals in a composition style that ranges from Ravel to atonality. Yet Tomasi never rejected the languages of the heart and the senses, the melody and lyricism of which he was one of the last champions. His authors were Milosz, Vercors, Giono, Daudet, Césaire, Lorca, Soupault, Camus…

Alongside the compositions that are known and played throughout the world – Concertos de trompette and de trombone; Fanfares liturgiques – others, equally prominant, await a broader appreciation: Concertos de violon, de guitare, de saxophone; the Requiem, Retour à Tipasa, and, on the stage, Don Juan de Mañara, L'Atlantide, Le Silence de la mer, L’Eloge de la Folie…

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