Henri Tomasi was one of the great figures of 20th-century French music, and his catalogue of more than one hundred works features many splendid stage and concert scores. In 1927, after distinguishing himself at the Paris Conservatory, he simultaneously obtained a unanimous First Prize for conducting and a Grand Prix de Rome for composition, which launched his successful double-role career.
Although some of Henri Tomasi’s works are internationally renowned, those for violin are largely unknown today. This first recording of his complete works for the instrument, however, clearly attests to their quality and significance.
Henri Tomasi’s violin works are little known but they offer a compact insight into the direction of French 20th-century composition. The Violin Concerto ‘Périple d’Ulysse’ is a late work, by turns alluring, tragic and violent, conveyed through rhapsodic virtuosity and a rich sense of colour. The Capriccio is full of elegance and refinement with emotional intensity in its slow movement and brilliance in its finale. Chant hébraïque conjures up oriental motifs while the sequence of early works for violin and piano reference Tomasi’s Corsican heritage and evoke quasi-cinematic exoticism.