WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Saint-Saens: Complete Piano Works Vol 2 / Geoffrey Burleson

Saint-saens / Burleson
Release Date: 05/29/2012 
Label:  Grand Piano   Catalog #: 605   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Geoffrey Burleson
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



SAINT-SAËNS Allegro after the Third Concerto. Suite, op. 90. Allegro appassionato, op. 70. Thème varié, op. 97. 6 Fugues, op. 161 Geoffrey Burleson (pn) GRAND PIANO 605 (53:38)


The piano works of Saint-Saëns are some of the forgotten gems in the pianist’s possible Read more repertoire. Being that the composer was one of the finest pianists in the second half of the 19th century, not only is the music well written for the instrument, it is, at its best, some of the composer’s most finessed and engaging. The current program features pieces written throughout the composer’s career, from the virtuosic transcription of the concerto movement and the Thème varié —both written for piano contests—to the more lighthearted and neoclassical suite. In general, Saint-Saëns’s music necessitates a virtuosic technique; he requires the pianist to maintain lucid textures, careful pedaling, sparkling passagework, and meticulous attention to articulation. In general, Geoffrey Burleson does an admirable job handling all of the many inherent difficulties of this music—just a quick glance at the theme and variations is enough to scare most pianists. What feels right about this program, moreover, is that the pieces are arranged in a way that makes one feel that one is listening to a recital, rather than just a second installment of the complete piano works of this composer. (This volume is just that. The first in the series was reviewed by Lynn René Bayley in Fanfare 35:6.)


The hyper-virtuosic Allegro, op. 29, opens the program. Though Burleson becomes a bit too heavy in some instances and dry in others (a little more pedal here and there might have helped in bringing out details of shifted orchestration on the piano) one can hardly complain about such a fine reading otherwise. The suite, while lighter in mood, contains some very fine moments, from the improvisatory-sounding Prelude to the lively and bouncy Gavotte. Burleson obviously relishes this little masterpiece. The real stars of this program for me, however, are the Thème varié and the fugues. Burleson does a fine job of maintaining a feeling of pulse throughout the entire op. 97, from the simple chorale theme to the more complex figuration in the variations—double notes, arpeggios, octaves, leaps, and the like! The pianist (who is also the author of some fine booklet notes) describes the Six Fugues, op. 161, as “a suite of dynamic character pieces.” I couldn’t agree more. Though one can play them as simple academic etudes, whether studies in composition or instrumental technique, Burleson shows them to be true musical masterpieces, from the quasi-prelude first, through the sprightly and lively third, to the longest and climactic final one. Indeed, performing them as a set just makes sense here. And with performances of these fugues as engaging as the music itself, one can only hope that this release may spur more pianists to play this music. As there is little competition in this repertoire, I am surely glad to add such a fine release to my collection. If you do not know this music, go out and grab this recording. Saint-Saëns is not one to disappoint.


FANFARE: Scott Noriega
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
3e Concerto, Op. 29: Allegro d'Après by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Geoffrey Burleson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 
Venue:  Patrych Sound Studios, The Bronx, New Yo 
Length: 10 Minutes 18 Secs. 
2.
Suite for Piano in F major, Op. 90 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Geoffrey Burleson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 
Venue:  Patrych Sound Studios, The Bronx, New Yo 
Length: 11 Minutes 7 Secs. 
3.
Allegro appassionato for Piano in C minor, Op. 70 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Geoffrey Burleson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 
Venue:  Patrych Sound Studios, The Bronx, New Yo 
Length: 5 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4.
Thème Varié for Piano, Op. 97 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Geoffrey Burleson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 
Venue:  Patrych Sound Studios, The Bronx, New Yo 
Length: 6 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Fugues (6) for Piano, Op. 161 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Geoffrey Burleson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 
Venue:  Patrych Sound Studios, The Bronx, New Yo 
Length: 18 Minutes 25 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 29: I. Moderato assai - Piu mosso (Allegro maestoso) (arr. for solo piano)
Suite in F major, Op. 90: I. Prelude et Fugue
Suite in F major, Op. 90: II. Menuet
Suite in F major, Op. 90: III. Gavotte
Suite in F major, Op. 90: IV. Gigue
Allegro appassionato in C sharp minor, Op. 70 (version for piano)
Theme varie, Op. 97
6 Fugues, Op. 161: No. 1. Allegro moderato
6 Fugues, Op. 161: No. 2. Poco allegro-grazioso
6 Fugues, Op. 161: No. 3. Allegretto
6 Fugues, Op. 161: No. 4. Allegro moderato
6 Fugues, Op. 161: No. 5. Andantino quasi allegretto
6 Fugues, Op. 161: No. 6. Maestoso, poco allegro

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In