Pierre Cochereau was organist of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1955 until his death at age 59 in 1984. This DVD released by the French Solstice firm, producer of most of Cochereau’s recordings, marks the 20th anniversary of his death and comprises almost two hours of material from the French National Audio-Visual Institute Archives and private sources. It is enriched with accounts from other musicians, personalities, students and close friends and family. It traces the career of the brilliant improviser that was Pierre Cochereau, and whose sudden disappearance deprived the musical world of one of its finest.
Much of the video records Cochereau playing, principally at Notre-Dame, excerpts of COUPERIN (Messe des Paroisses) BACH (Prélude et Fugue B minor), Dupré, Saint Saens (Final 3rd Symphony with Barenboïm), VIERNE (2nd Symphony -1st & 2nd movts) PURCELL & VIVALDI with trumpeter Roger Delmotte and, of course, parts of improvisations. There is a brief view Cochereau playing at the inauguration of the Aeolian-Skinner at Crystal Cathedral.
There are interviews with Cochereau at differing periods of his life, for example, when he was named organist of Notre-Dame in 1955, another moment where he evokes the great ceremonies in Notre-Dame (De Gaulle funerals, Kennedy, Pomidou) with very strong emotion! And in Lyon, some months before he died. Twelve individuals testify to Cochereau’s contributions to the organ world. There is video shot in Notre-Dame in 1977 for Cochereau’s famous “Music Lesson”, and also the inauguration of the Second Superior Conservatoire in Lyon, as well as a short documentary on the Nice Conservatory.
Most of the dialogue is in French with English subtitles. About two hours in duration.