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Julian Cochran | Mazurkas 1, 4, 5 - Preludes 7, 8 - Scherzi 1, 2

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Mazurkas 1, 4, 5 - Preludes 7, 8 - Scherzi 1, 2

by Julian Cochran

Fascinating and beautiful classical piano works of the British / Australian composer Julian Cochran.
Genre: Classical: Piano solo
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Mazurka No. 1
4:08 $1.69
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2. Mazurka No. 4
6:33 $1.69
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3. Mazurka No. 5
4:24 $1.69
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4. Prelude No. 7
5:20 $1.69
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5. Prelude No. 8
8:26 $1.69
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6. Scherzo No. 1
3:30 $1.69
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7. Scherzo No. 2
2:41 $1.69
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8. Russian Song
3:22 $1.69
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Julian Cochran (b. 1974)

Descended from Scottish families and born in Cambridge in 1974, Julian Cochran immigrated to Australia in 1978. Educated as a pure mathematician, he had at the age of fourteen received a scholarship to Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium for advanced piano studies. Along with his exceptional talent as a concert pianist, Cochran displayed a rare ability for greatly imaginative improvisation, creating on the fly variations and even whole new development sections within works by the great composers. Julian continued to nurture this unique skill, so often reflected in his music, which abounds in a wealth of refreshing ideas, but always with sense of structure and unity.

Internationally renowned Australian concert pianist Gil Sullivan, having formerly composed himself, was among the first to recognize Cochran as a world-class composer and championed his music throughout the world. Thunderous and enthusiastic applause was received between each of Cochran's five Mazurkas, in his 2012 performance at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and the house was brought down at New York's Carnegie Hall. Sullivan describes the young composer's works as “exhibiting striking individuality and personality, exuding dramatic intensity and power” and Gil Sullivan continues to perform Cochran's works on the world stage, observing in 2012 – “The immediate beauty and charm is carried throughout in Julian's music by an underlying inner logic.”

Julian Cochran carries forward the piano traditions of Liszt, Balakirev, Ravel and Prokofiev, where the piano, with its rich sonority, acts as a metaphor – and practical inventive device – for the entire orchestra. Meanwhile a command of the classical tradition – the vast harmonic language, polyphony and established structural forms – provides the framework from which Julian invents fruitfully and extends his musical language into new territories.

Piano Sonata No. 1 simply uses the scale of alternating tones and semi-tones, while the grand Scherzo No. 4 is based entirely on the scale of alternating tone-and-a-halves, and semi-tones. Not merely 'utilized', these devices must be 'mastered' before the full musical potentials can be truly widened.

Julian's music frequently inhabits the realms of dance, an aesthetic that clearly spills over into his larger works, such as Piano Sonata No. 2 and Symphonic Tale. Cochran himself has played in concert with a Russian and Romanian folk music balalaika ensemble, an experience alluring him to compose his five Romanian Dances; yet the influence of Eastern-European folk music can be traced to even earlier works.

Concert pianists and students alike, delight in mastering Cochran's piano works, discovering the intelligent and fascinating surprises existing within some of the most exquisite artistic piano writing of our time, and rejoicing in the refreshingly new ways in which Julian's ideas and concepts reflect on human nature.

London-based conductor Levon Parikian – upon discovering Cochran's music – observed of the advanced technique – “We hear extreme virtuosity in some of these admirably concise and expertly-tailored compositions. Hearteningly though, this virtuosity is always in the service of the music, rather than an empty display of flashy pyrotechnics.”

Mazurkas Nos. 1, 4, 5
Preludes Nos. 7, 8
Scherzi Nos. 1, 2
Russian Song

The Mazurka, or Mazurek, is related to the Waltz, but with the accent usually placed on the second or third beats, as opposed to the first beat in the Waltz. However, the Mazurka owes its true origin to two other Polish musical forms; the slow, plaintive Kujawiak, and the fast and lively Oberek. Cochran's Mazurkas also carry Hungarian and Romanian folk music motifs, which add to the broader, more universal character of his music.

Mazurka No. 1 was being prepared for a performance at Carnegie Hall before the ensuing four Mazurkas that followed, were written, so it is likely the great reception the first Mazurka received, encouraged the composer to follow with more. In Mazurka No. 4, with perhaps the widest stylistic variety of all his Mazurkas, Cochran noted: “There is an emphasis upon the fourth and sixth notes of the minor scale, where the fourth note is augmented, causing the fifth note to be mockingly avoided! This one idea leads to everything – a kind of anomaly that motivates how all of the subjects are created and correspondingly relate together.” The atmospheres range from great sparsity at the opening to energetic, engine-like variations.

The harmonic landscape changes again in Mazurka No. 5. Probably the most virtuosic of the five Mazurkas, it continues to use Eastern-European folk music motifs.

Prelude No. 7 – written in 2010 – begins with a reflective and searching subject, which is itself made up from a short phrase played twice in succession; the repeat is displaced by one beat to give the illusion of a single melody. Folk-music-style variations ensue, whilst in the climax, the same rhythm from the opening is applied to the powerful cathedral-bell-like descending notes.

The impressionistic Prelude No. 8 carries a sense of both tranquility and peril, in a conflicting manner, yet capable of co-existence. This is the nature of the ocean, and the swirling opening subject is clearly reminiscent of this natural force. As each new subject is introduced, they between themselves, eventually leading to the final culmination. In the closing minutes, every theme is briefly visited anew, before the work concludes, darkness surpassed, and life invigorated.

'Scherzo' is translated from Italian as 'joke', and the composers of Scherzos have traditionally used fast triple time, commonly with repeated variations of a short phrase. After its completion, Cochran briefly referenced his Scherzo No. 1 in his memoir of 2006 – “I am happy to report that I have completed a fourth composition for the year, temporarily titled as a Scherzo. It is quite jubilant in character, in the key of G major and it uses ternary form. The first few bars were invented many years ago, most likely – as I recall – in 1996, although without the chromatic right hand accompaniment that I have now placed. While I failed in 1996 to continue the opening theme to produce anything interesting it was presently quite easily to develop contrasting material. Even after considering the composition as complete, I then added varying rhythmic accents and also changed the rhythms themselves during repeats in order to stimulate greater interest.”

Scherzo No. 2, marked Presto, features rapid parallel staccato chords, a technique also found in the Piano Sonata No. 2. During the coda, the whole keyboard is engulfed by these soaring clusters in contrary motion.

Russian Song, the second and shortest movement of Symphonic Tale, evokes our memories of fairy-tales. Originally composed as a piano work in 2010, Julian orchestrated it as part of his complete Symphonic Tale early in 2013.

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