1. Allegro d'apres le 3e Concerto, Op.29 00:10:19
2. Prelude et Fugue 00:03:08
3. Menuet 00:03:40
4. Gavotte 00:02:13
5. Gigue 00:02:09
6. Allegro appassionato, Op. 70 00:05:44
7. Theme varie, Op. 97 00:06:56
8. Allegro moderato 00:04:05
9. Poco allegro-grazioso 00:02:59
10. Allegretto 00:02:39
11. Allegro moderato 00:02:51
12. Andantino quasi allegretto 00:02:28
13. Maestoso, poco allegro 00:04:49
Total Playing Time: 00:53:38
Saint-Saëns was a piano virtuoso and a composer of bravura brilliance. His Six Fugues, Op 161 are masterly and complex character studies, devoid of academic leanings, whilst his famous Allegro appassionato, Op 70 possesses brilliance and lyrical depth. The Theme varie, Op 97 is witty and explosive, the Suite, Op 90 full of charm, and the Allegro, Op 29 possessed of dazzling breadth. This is the latest release in a 5 volume series of Saint-Saëns' complete piano works that Burleson is recording for the new Naxos Grand Piano label. Available from Naxos, Amazon, iTunes, HMV, Arkiv, Barnes & Noble, eMusic, and elsewhere.
Naxos, Catalogue No: GP605, released on 06/2012
Burleson brings a commanding technique and cultured musicality to these works. He takes care to point up Saint-Saëns's formal mastery and in this sense the two pieces transcribed from concert works are particularly impressive. He is also adept at polyphonic textures, and the fugues, some of which are far from easy, are poised and often charming. One of the challenges of Saint-Saëns's piano music, it seems to me, is its sheer stylistic diversity. Perhaps it is Burleson's wide-ranging experience with different kinds of music, his experience with jazz, a good deal of contemporary music, not to mention great chunks of the standard repertoire, which makes him such a persuasive advocate for Saint-Saëns.
-Patrick Rucker, International Record Review
The piano works of Saint-Saëns are some of the forgotten gems in the pianist's repertoire. 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. The suite, while light in mood, contains some very fine moments. Burleson obviously relishes this little masterpiece. The real stars of the program are the Thème varié and the fugues. Though one can play them as simple academic etudes, whether studies in composition or instrumental technique, Burleson shows the Six Fugues, Op. 161 to be true musical masterpieces.
-Scott Noriega, Fanfare Magazine
Burleson has a keen ear for phrasing that goes beyond the demands of technical exercise. Most important, he appreciate the challenges of listening to counterpoint and attenuates his control of the individual voices that elucidate the intricacies of Saint-Saëns' compositional (rather than merely technical) skills. The reworking of the Op. 29 Concerto in E-Flat Major (the third) is definitely impressive. Saint-Saëns clearly put considerable thought into how the interplay of orchestra and soloist can be conveyed without the orchestra being present. Considering how little attention this concerto gets in the symphonic repertoire, this particular track has great value to the curious listener. I find the Op. 161 Fugues to be the most engaging selections. Once again Burleson is in peak form when it comes to sorting out the complex interrelationships of the contrapuntal voices. This is music that really does deserve more attention in concert and recital halls.
-Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com