French composer and conductor, Henri Tomasi (1901-1971) published Concerto for Bassoon 1963. As with his other wind compositions, Être, ou ne pas être
('To be or not to be') for Bass Trombone or Tuba and 3 Trombones was well-received by audiences.
Tomasi was born in Marseille, but his Father and Mother were originally from La Casinca in Corsica. Despite being pressured in to musical studies by his parents, Tomasi dreamed of becoming a sailor, and during the summer, he stayed with his Grandmother in Corsica where he learnt traditional Corsican songs. However, in 1921, he began his studies at the Paris Conservatoire and went on to become a high profile composer and conductor. Tomasi did not forget his Corsican roots, often incorporating themes of the songs he had learnt during the summers with his Grandmother into his compositions. Être, ou ne pas être
is a highly unusual and modern work for Trombone quartet. The composition exploits tonality, rhythm and structure amongst other aspects. However, this Tomasi piece, suitable for advanced Tuba and Trombone players, provides an exciting, alternative addition to the instrument's ensemble repertoire.