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To commemorate Henri Tomasi’s 110th birthday in 2011 (he was born on 17th August 1901), as well as the 40th anniversary of his death (13th January 1971).
Henri Tomasi’s international breakthrough as a composer did not come until after the second world war, although in his native France he had had tremendous success with such works as "Cyrnos", "Vocero" and "Tam Tam", placing himself in the front row of the greatest French composers of the day.
He had a special affinity for the theatre, and thus he wrote a total of twelve operas, including "Don Juan de Manara", "L’Atlantide" and "Sampierro Corso". Tomasi’s second passion for was instrumental music, and he especially favoured wind instruments. In cooperation with the most eminent soloists of the twentieth century, Francescatti, Navarra, Mule, André, Rampal, Presti-Lagoya and Erlih among them, he composed twenty concertos.
Two of the three concertos presented on this CD (for clarinet and bassoon) were commissioned by the Paris Conservatoire as entry audition pieces. The third concerto (for oboe) which was written at the same time as the ballet "Jabadao", is based on the same musical material and moulds this into traditional concert form. The beginning of the oboe concerto is reminiscent of a "Vocero", which is a ceremony performed for the deceased, in which a woman who was professional mourner would declaim dirges and songs of lament. The "Divertimento Corsica" comes across as a small conglomeration of Corsican dances and melodies. In four scenes, full of atmosphere, Tomasi tells us of his beloved island home.
The four works do not as yet form part of current theatre repertoire, so they are a treasure trove for collectors of rare music! And: this CD is actually filling a loophole in the repertoire! This is the first time ever that the oboe concerto has been issued on a recording.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.