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CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Julian COCHRAN (b.1974)
Russian Toccata (1996) [2:23]
Prelude no.2 (1994/2006) [2:12]
Romanian Dance no.2 (2004) [2:25]
Romanian Dance no.3 (2007) [2:49]
Romanian Dance no.4 (2007) [2:35]
Mazurka no.2 (2007) [4:53]
Mazurka no.3 (2008) [3:47]
Animation Suite no.1 - Tin Sentinel (1999) [1:42]
Animation Suite no.4 - Wooden Dolls (2004) [3:25]
Maelstrom I (1995) [4:20]
Julian Cochran (piano)
rec. No information given. DDD
Private production[30:13]

Experience Classicsonline

This CD is published by the English-born Australian composer himself in collaboration with CD Baby.come. At only 30 minutes in length it is clearly intended as a sampler, and the programme notes, subtitled "Teachers, Music Analysts, Reviewers", reveal its primary audience.
The slimline digipak-style case is rather lacking in detail. There is no booklet as such; instead a paragraph of biography on the back cover and brief but adequate programme notes printed straight onto the glossy card - with a handful of typos dotted about the place. The composition dates given above come from Cochran's own useful archives. No recording details have been provided, although a few minor audience noises off and at one point a passing aeroplane confirm a live recording, presumably edited down for this sampler. Rather surprisingly, there is no mention of the performer either, but it is Cochran himself. As a pianist he has a reputation as a fine improviser, and some of that comes through in this recital of pieces that frequently sound extemporised (in a good way). In any case, Cochran brings easy virtuosity and countless degrees of nuance to his own music in this recital.
Cochran's music itself is impressive, not so much for its originality - pace the notes, these pieces could have been written at any time in the last century - but for the jaunty, folkish rhythms, eastern or southern European harmonies and memorable lyricism. At an average of only three minutes a piece, with patchy indication as to whether these are stand-alone items or movements from larger works, no great depths of pathos are visited here, but Cochran's music will have the same broad public appeal as that of Sergei Bortkiewicz, with whose equally concise piano pieces his have much in common - see this review of the excellent fifth volume of Bortkiewicz's complete piano music, recently released by FC-Records, for comparison.
Cochran's titles are suggestive, but relatively unimportant - all these pieces are cut from the same cloth. Yet that is not to say they are unimaginative or samey - far from it. The notes refer to "the great regard Cochran has for the piano tradition of Liszt, Balakirev, Ravel and Prokofiev", and anyone sharing that sentiment is virtually certain to derive aural pleasure from Cochran's music, not to mention his savoury pianism.
Sound quality is good, the piano tone appealing. A few of the tracks come to an abrupt-sounding end, with the sudden intrusion of digital silence - presumably to edit out applause - but the effect is minimal.
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