Pierre Cochereau

Pierre Eugène Charles Cochereau (July 9, 1924–March 5, 1984), was a French organist, improviser, composer, and pedagogue.

Biography

Pierre Cochereau was born on the 9th of July, 1924 in Saint-Mandé, near Paris. In 1929, after a few months of violin instruction, Pierre Cochereau began to take piano lessons with Marius-François Gaillard. Marguerite Long became his piano teacher in 1933, and three years later, Paul Pannesay. In 1938, Cochereau was introduced to the pipe organ by Marie-Louise Girod, a student of Marcel Dupré. He continued his organ studies with André Fleury and Paul Delafosse, whom Pierre Cochereau succeeded as titular organist at St. Roch in Paris in 1942.

After one year of law studies, Cochereau decided to dedicate himself to a musical career, and entered the Conservatory of Paris in 1943. He left the Conservatory in 1949 with first prizes in harmony (class of Maurice Duruflé), music history, fugue and counterpoint (class of Noël Gallon), composition (class of Tony Aubin), and organ (class of Marcel Dupré).

In September 1948, Cochereau made his first recital tour to Hungary. One year later, he married Nicole Lacroix, a pianist and composer, with whom he had two children: Jean-Marc, conductor and presently director of the Tours Conservatory, and Marie-Pierre, a professional harpist.

In 1949, at age 26, Pierre Cochereau was appointed director of the Le Mans Conservatory, where he stayed until 1956. In 1955, he succeeded Léonce de Saint-Martin (1886-1954) as titular organist at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

In 1956, his recording of Marcel Dupré's "Symphonie-Passion" opus 23 was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque. The same year, Cochereau made his first of 25 recital tours to the United States.

In 1961, Cochereau became director of the Nice Conservatory, which he left in 1979, accepting the directorship of the Lyon Conservatory.

Pierre Cochereau died during the night of March 5, 1984, in Lyon, suffering from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was buried at the Cimetière Belleville in Paris.

Pierre Cochereau had a worldwide reputation as a concert organist and especially as a brilliant improviser. In his improvisations, Cochereau had created a musical language that was eminently personal, recognizable as of the opening notes. Stylistic influences regarding counterpoint, formal structure, and harmonic language, included composers such as Marcel Dupré, Maurice Duruflé, Noël Gallon, Olivier Messiaen, and Florent Schmitt.

André Fleury, who was one of Cochereau's first organ teachers, reported, "He already showed great gifts, perhaps a bit overly attracted, in the study of improvisation, by the search for the pretty harmony, rather than the strict exercise of contrapuntal discipline."Many years later, Fleury said, "As one day we were en tête à tête, I asked him if he worked on improvisation. 'Never,' he replied. 'What I do at Notre-Dame and in concert serves as practice.' Such gifts, when one thinks of his harmonic language, so subtly refined, and what force of concentration to give a form to all those riches!"In regard to Cochereau's formidable improvisational skills, Marcel Dupré said about his former student, "Pierre Cochereau is a phenomenon without equal in the history of the contemporary organ."

As a composer, Cochereau left several organ works, chamber music, and choir compositions. Many of Cochereau's organ improvisations were transcribed and published.

Compositions

Organ Solo

* Symphonie (composed 1950-55. Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1996. EC 100)
** "1. Adagio et Allegro"
** "2. Adagio"
** "3. Scherzando"
** "4. Allegro"
* Trois Variations sur un thème chromatique (composed 1963. Paris: Leduc, 1963)
* Micro-Sonate en Trio opus 11 (composed 1969. Paris: Leduc, 1969)
* Variations sur "Ma jeunesse a une fin" opus 16 (composed 1972. Paris: Leduc, 1972)

Organ with Other Instruments

* Concerto for organ and orchestra in C# major (composed 1951. Unpublished.)

Works for Choir

* Paraphrase de la Dédicace for choir, two organs, two brass ensembles, and six tympani (composed 1963. Sankt Augustin, Germany: Dr. Josef Butz Musikverlag/Éditions Chantraine. EC 148)
* Hymne (Unpublished.)

Chamber Music

* Songs (Unpublished.)
* Piano Quintet (Unpublished.)

Transcribed Improvisations of Pierre Cochereau

* Symphonie improvisée.
* I. "Adagio"
* II. "Scherzo"
* III. "Adagio"
* IV. "Toccata"
** Improvised in 1956 at the Aeolian-Skinner organ at Boston Symphony Hall. Transcribed by Jeremy Filsell.
*** Sankt Augustin, Germany: Dr. J. Butz Musikverlag/Éditions Chantraine, 2004. EC 160.
**** Recording: Cochereau: Les "Incunables". Sigean, France: Solstice, 2000. SOCD 177/8. 2 CD’s.

* Symphonie en improvisation.
* I. "Agité"
* II. "Scherzo"
* III. "Lent"
* IV. "Final"
** Improvised in December 1963 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by John Scott Whiteley.
*** Sankt Augustin, Germany: Dr. J. Butz Musikverlag/Éditions Chantraine, 2006. EC 161.
**** Recording: Cochereau: La Légende. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2007. SOCD 237. Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 4: Messiaen/Cochereau. France: Philips, 1995. Philips 446 642-2. 1 CD.

* Treize improvisations sur les versets de vêpres.
** Improvised in December 1963 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by Jeanne Joulain.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1997. EC 125.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau improvise sur des Noëls. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1997. SOCD 152. 1 CD.

* Prélude et Variations sur "Venez, Divin Messie".
** Improvised on December 24, 1968 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by David Briggs.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1998. EC 122.
**** Recording: Cochereau: La Légende. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2007. SOCD 237. 1 CD.

* Sortie sur "Adeste Fideles".
** Improvised on December 24, 1968 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 150.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau improvise sur des Noëls. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1997. SOCD 152. 1 CD.

* Cantem toto la Gloria.
** Improvised on July 23, 1969 in Collioure (Pyrénées-Orientales; Hartmann Positive organ). Transcribed by David Briggs.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1997. EC 120.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: 12 improvisations inédites. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2002. SOCD 200/1. 2 CD’s.

* Thème et Variations sur "Alouette, gentille alouette".
** Improvised in April 1970 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by David Briggs.
*** London: United Music Publishers, 1992.
**** Recording: Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 16: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 1. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 655-2. 1 CD.

* Quinze versets sur "Ave Maris Stella".
** Improvised on August 15, 1970 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 157.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau improvise en concert à Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1989. FYCD 127. 1 CD.

* Variations sur un vieux Noël.
** Improvised on December 24, 1972 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by Jeremy Filsell.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 137.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau improvise en concert à Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1989. FYCD 127. 1 CD.

* Introduction, Choral et Variations sur "O Filii et filiæ".
** Improvised on April 22, 1973 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 2000. EC 151.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'organiste de Notre-Dame. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1992. SOCD 94/6. 3 CD‘s.

* Boléro sur un thème de Charles Jacquet for organ and percussion.
** Improvised in May 1973 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by Jean-Marc Cochereau.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1996. EC 116.
**** Recordings: Cochereau: La Légende. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2007. SOCD 237. Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 16: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 1. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 655-2. 1 CD.

* Berceuse à la mémoire de Louis Vierne.
** Improvised in May 1973 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by Frédéric Blanc.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1997. EC 119.
**** Recording: Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 17: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 2. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 656-2. 1 CD.

* Variations sur "Frère Jacques".
** Improvised in May 1973 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 149.
**** Recording: Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 17: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 2. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 656-2. 1 CD.

* Suite à la française sur des thèmes populaires.
* I. "Prélude "Légende de Saint-Nicolas"
* II. "Air "Trimazo"
* III. "Gigue "Compagnons de la Marjolaine"
* IV. "Musette "Nous n'irons plus au bois"
* V. "Sarabande "Dans les prisons de Nantes"
* VI. "Menuet "V'la l'bon vent"
* VII. "Toccata "Marche des rois"
** Improvised in May 1973 at Notre-Dame de Paris for Philips. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 115.
**** Recording: Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 16: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 1. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 655-2. 1 CD.

* Scherzo symphonique.
** Improvised on February 10, 1974 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by Jeremy Filsell.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1998. EC 139.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'organiste de Notre-Dame. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1992. SOCD 94/6. 3 CDs.

* Sortie sur "Venez, Divin Messie".
** Improvised in March 1974 at Notre-Dame de Paris for FY/Solstice. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1996. EC 113.
**** Recording: Noël à Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1994. SOCD 906. 1 CD.

* Suite de Danses for organ and percussion.
* I. "Marche"
* II. "Sarabande"
* III. "Musette"
* IV. "Tambourin"
* V. "Menuet"
* VI. "Gigue"
** Improvised on May 29, 1974 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by David Briggs.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 123.
**** Recording: Cochereau: Deux grandes improvisation en concert. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1985. FYCD 118. 1 CD.

* Sortie sur "Haec Dies".
** Improvised on March 30, 1975 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1997. EC 112.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'organiste de Notre-Dame. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1992. SOCD 94/6. 3 CD’s.

* Neuf Pièces improvisées en forme de Suite française.
* I. "Kyrie"
* II. "Petit Plein-Jeu"
* III. "Offertoire"
* IV. "Tierce en taille"
* V. "Voix humaine"
* VI. "Basse de Cromorne"
* VII. "Flûtes"
* VIII. "Basse de Trompette"
* IX. "Grand Plein-Jeu"
** Improvised between March 15 and 18, 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris for FY/Solstice. Transcribed by Jeanne Joulain.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine. EC 64.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'art de l'improvisation. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1999. FYCD 059. 1 CD.

* Variations sur un Noël.
** Improvised on June 27, 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris for FY/Solstice. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai ,Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1997. EC 90.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'art de l'improvisation. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1999. FYCD 059. 1 CD.

* Une Messe Dominicale.
* I. "Entrée"
* II. "Offertoire"
* III. "Élévation"
* IV. "Communion"
* V. "Sortie"
** Improvised on June 28, 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris for FY/Solstice. Transcribed by François Lombard.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1997. EC 114.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'art de l'improvisation. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1999. FYCD 059. 1 CD.

* Triptyque symphonique sur deux thèmes.
* I. "Introduction et Scherzo"
* II. "Fugue"
* III. "Final"
** Improvised on June 29, 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris for FY/Solstice. Transcribed by David Briggs.
*** Tournai, Belgium: Éditions Chantraine, 1998. EC 121.
**** Recording: Pierre Cochereau: L'art de l'improvisation. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1999. FYCD 059. 1 CD.

Discography

* Pierre Cochereau: L'Œuvre écrite.
** Symphonie pour grand orgue; Paraphrase de la Dédicace; Trois Variations sur un thème chromatique; Micro Sonate en trio; Thème et Variations sur "Ma jeunesse a une fin".
*** François Lombard (Symphonie) and Pierre Pincemaille, Organists. Chœur régional Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Orchestre philharmonique de Marseille. Jean-Marc Cochereau, Conductor. Recorded 1999 at St. Vincent de Roquevaire (Bouches-du-Rhône). Sigean, France: Solstice, 1999. SOCD 163. 1 CD.

* Cochereau.
** A two-hour portrait including numerous archive recordings and interviews on the life and work of Pierre Cochereau.
*** Sigean, France: Solstice, 2004. SODVD 01. 1 DVD.

* Cochereau: Les "Incunables".
** Liszt: Ad nos, ad salutarem undam; Vierne: 2. Sinfonie e-Moll op. 20; Dupré: Symphonie-Passion op. 20; Cochereau: Symphonie improvisée.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded 1955 at Notre-Dame de Paris (Liszt, Vierne, Dupré) and in June 1956 (Symphonie improvisée) at Symphony Hall, Boston. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2000. SOCD 177/8. 2 CD‘s.

* Cochereau: La Legende.
** Symphonie en Improvisation; Treize improvisations sur des versets de Vêpres; Boléro improvisé sur un thème de Charles Racquet for organ and percussion.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Michel Cals and Michel Gastaud, Percussionists (Boléro improvisé). Recorded in December 1963 (Symphonie, Treize improvisations) and May 1973 (Boléro improvisé) at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2007. SOCD 237. 1 CD.

* Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 4: Messiaen/Cochereau.
** Olivier Messiaen: Excerpts from “La Nativité du Seigneur; Le banquet céleste; Apparition de l’eglise éternelle (February 1972); Symphonie en improvisation (May 1973).
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded at Notre-Dame de Paris. France: Philips, 1995. Philips 446 642-2. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau improvise sur des Noëls aux grandes orgues de Notre-Dame de Paris.
** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded between 1969 and 1973 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1997. SOCD 152. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau: 12 Improvisations inédites.
** Concert Tour Summer 1969 in various French cities, played on a two-manual positiv organ by Philippe Hartmann.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded between July 16 and August 29, 1969. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2002. SOCD 200/1. 2 CD’s.

* Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 16: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 1.
** Improvisations sur “Alouette, gentile alouette” (April 1970); Suite à la française sur des thèmes populaires; Boléro sur un theme de Charles Racquet, pour orgue et percussion (May 1973).
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Michel Cals and Michel Gastaud, Percussionists (Boléro). Recorded at Notre-Dame de Paris. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 655-2. 1 CD.

* Collection Grandes Orgues Vol. 17: Cochereau joue Cochereau, Improvisations 1.
** Treize improvisations sur des versets de Vêpres (December 1963); Berceuse à la mémoire de Louis Vierne; Variations sur “Frère Jacques“ (May 1973).
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded at Notre-Dame de Paris. France: Philips, 1996. Philips 454 656-2. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau: Deux grandes improvisations en concert.
** Suite de Danses; Prélude, Adagio et Choral Varié.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Michel Cals and Michel Gastaud, Percussionists (Suite de Danses). Recorded on May 24, 1974 (Suite) and February 27, 1970 (Prélude, Adagio et Choral Varié) at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1985. FYCD 118. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau: L'organiste de Notre-Dame.
** Works by J. S. Bach, César Franck, Olivier Messiaen, Marcel Dupré, and Rouget de Lisle, as well as numerous live recordings of liturgical improvisations and concert improvisations.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded between 1968 and 1984 at Notre-Dame de Paris and Chartres Cathédrale (Introduction, Choral et Variations sur un thème donné par P. C., September 30, 1973). Sigean, France: Solstice, 1992. SOCD 94/6. 3 CD‘s.

* Pierre Cochereau, Organ.
** Works by Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin, Louis Vierne, Olivier Messiaen and an improvisation on a submitted theme.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organ. Recorded on July 12, 1970 and July 2, 1972 at the Chiesa Parrocchiale in Magadino, Italy. Bologna, Italy: Ermitage, 1996. ERM 176-2. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau improvise en concert à Notre-Dame de Paris.
** 15 Versets sur Ave Maris Stella; Variations sur un Noël.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded on August 15, 1970 (Versets) and December 24, 1972 (Variations) at Notre Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1989. FYCD 127. 1 CD.

* Improvisations sur des thèmes de Pâques à Notre-Dame de Paris.
** Symphonie en 4 mouvements (April 11, 1971); Introduction, Choral, Fugue et Variations (March 26, 1978); Prélude, Adagio, Fugue et Choral Varié (April 19, 1981).
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2003. SOCD 206. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau: L'organiste liturgique.
** Four improvised masses (each including Entrée, Offertoire, Communion and Sortie).
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded between June 1973 and November 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 2003. SOCD 226. 1 CD.

* Noël à Notre-Dame de Paris.
** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Maîtrise de Notre-Dame. Jehan Revert, Conductor. Recorded in March and June 1974 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1994. SOCD 906. 1 CD.

* Les offices du dimanche à Notre-Dame de Paris.
** Office de Laudes; Grand’Messe; Vêpres.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Maîtrise de Notre-Dame/Chorale de la Cathédrale. Jehan Revert, Conductor. Recorded on February 27, 1976 and November 9, 1968 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1988. FYCD 019. 1 CD.

* Pierre Cochereau: L'art de l'improvisation.
** 30 pièces pour servir de présentation à l'orgue de Notre-Dame.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded between March 15 and June 29, 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1999. FYCD 059. 1 CD.

* Organ works by Otto Barblan and Henri Gagnebin.
** Otto Barblan: Toccata op. 23; Fantaisie op. 16; Chaconne op. 10 on BACH. Heni Gagnebin: Toccata; Dialogue et Passacaille. An interview with Pierre Cochereau by Gérard Delatena.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded in October 1977 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Wiesbaden, Germany: Motette Ursina. Motette M 10350. 1 LP.

* Cochereau: Un Testament Musical.
** Intégrale des 25 improvisations sur l'Evangile selon Saint Matthieu.
*** Pierre Cochereau, Organist. Recorded between February 5 and March 4, 1984 at Notre-Dame de Paris. Sigean, France: Solstice, 1997. SOCD 150/1. 2 CD‘s.

Bibliography

* Yvette Carbou (ed.): "Pierre Cochereau: Témoignages." Éditions Zurfluh, Bourg-la-Reine, France 1999, ISBN 2-87750-087-X
* Brigitte de Leersnyder (ed.): Pierre Cochereau (1924-1984). In: "L'Orgue: Cahiers et memoirs." Numéro Spéciale de la revue trimestrielle "L'Orgue" 1989. Association des Amis de l'Orgue, ISSN 0030-5170
* François Sabatier. "Pierre Cochereau", in "Guide de la musique d’orgue", edited by Gilles Cantagrel. Paris: Fayard, 1991: 274-276.

External links

* [http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=CEnfwY6rYU4 Brief video clip featuring Pierre Cochereau (Variation improvisée from the TV production "Un concert à Notre-Dame", 1980) at YouTube]
* [http://www.musimem.com/cochereau.htm Pierre Cochereau on the website "Musica et Memoria"]
* [http://www.netreach.net/~druid/LV/PierreCochereau.html More information on Pierre Cochereau on the website of the Association des Amis de l'Orgue de Roquevaire]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A04E4DA1539F934A35750C0A962948260 Obituary] in the "New York Times"
* [http://www.solstice-music.com Solstice Music, Sigean]
* [http://www.solstice-music.com/artistes/artistes_cochereau.php Pierre Cochereau at Solstice Music]
* [http://www.butz-verlag.de/ Dr. Josef Butz Musikverlag/Éditions Chantraine, Sankt Augustin]


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