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.
Stéphanie Moraly, Violin • Romain David, Piano Orchestre de la Garde républicaine • Sébastien Billard
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.
Listen to an extract from Violin Concerto, ‘Périple d’Ulysse’: III. Andante
About the Artists
Stéphanie Moraly is a concert violinist, renowned teacher and musicologist specialising in French music. Born in Paris, Moraly began studies at the Paris Conservatoire at 16 and was awarded a Premier Prix at the age of 19; the following year she was appointed as Michèle Auclair’s assistant in Boston, US. She currently performs as part of Duo Moraly-David with pianist Romain David, and is also first violin of the Quintette Syntonia. She plays a French violin by Léopold Renaudin from 1783.
Pianist Romain David is an award winner of numerous prestigious international competitions, including the Honens International Piano Competition (Calgary, 2003), Villa-Lobos International Piano Competition (São Paulo, 2006) and the European Piano Contest Bremen (2007), where he received three prizes, including the Public’s Award. David founded Quintette Syntonia in 1998, and has performed in a duo with Stéphanie Moraly since 2002.
After studying clarinet in Rouen and conducting in Reims, Sébastien Billard joined the Paris Conservatoire, where he was awarded First Prize for orchestral conducting, receiving the Jean-Paul Rieunier Prize. Billard continued his training with Myung-Whun Chung and with the orchestras of Avignon and Nancy. He was appointed deputy conductor of the Orchestre de la Garde républicaine in 1997.
Established in 1848, the Orchestre de la Garde républicaine today comprises 120 professional musicians. In addition to its esteemed national reputation, the orchestra has also met with great success internationally since its first tour to the United States in 1872, with concerts across Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, Singapore and Kazakhstan cementing its prestigious international standing.
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