Photo Credit: Jazmin Fillion
Mr. Burleson played with command, projecting a rhapsodic quality without loss of rhythmic vigor...and an appropriate sense of fetching color. Burleson played vibrantly... ending his program with a compelling account of Boulez's formidably complex Piano Sonata No. 3.
- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
Burleson gave an irresistably supple reading of Liszt's Jeux d'eaux a la villa d'este, and in his performance of Debussy's Pour le piano, the Sarabande was delightfully hazy, and the Toccata was an explosion of energy. He followed this with Saint-Saens's expansive Caprice on Ballet Airs From Gluck's 'Alceste' before closing the concert with three of his own virtuosic, lively, occasionally jazzy improvisations on a handful of Debussy themes.
-Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
Both works (Charles Ives's 'Three-Page Sonata' and Vincent Persichetti's Sonata No. 12) are couched in complex rhythms, with attractively simple melodies sometimes swimming through them. And Mr. Burleson played them with the energy and passion of a jazz player at the densest moment of a solo. He brought a similar power, as well as an improvisatory imagination, to Frank Zappa's 'Bebop Tango.'
- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
Burleson is a remarkable pianist, with tireless attack, unflagging rhythm and energy to burn.
- Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe
A top-notch pianist...Burleson's piquancy and poetry blended beautifully.
- The Washington Post
Outright thrilling...a first-class instrumental presence. ...pianist Geoffrey Burleson played winningly, with restraint, subtlety and precision.
- The Boston Globe
Burleson brings a commanding technique and cultured musicality to these works. He takes care to point up Saint-Saens'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-Saens'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-Saens.
-Patrick Rucker, International Record Review
Saint-Saens composed three sets of Etudes: Op. 52 in 1877, Op. 111 in 1899, and Op. 135 in 1912. This is how Burleson has chosen to auspiciously begin his projected five volumes of his complete piano music. As the inaugural release on the new Grand Piano label, it bodes well for what should become a great label for piano music. Only a brilliant piano technician can perform these 18 knuckle-busters, and Burleson is such a pianist; his ability and stamina to get through these and make music out of them is nothing short of amazing. The first two sets of Etudes are as difficult as Chopin's and Liszt's. Often dealing with a single technical problem, they are inventive and effective. The last set is for the left hand alone and in a different musical world. Burleson has just the right panache to bring these off. Recorded sound and booklet notes (by Burleson) are absolutely first class.
-American Record Guide
Burleson plays with enormous flair and style...superb.
Mr. Burleson is particularly well-known for especially complex and virtuosic jazz improvisations. One could definitely hear this in the 'jazz prelude' with which he warmed up the concert. Characterized as well by a winning ease, he improvised on individual songs of Gershwin, displaying an unprecedented range and speed. The audience was drawn in. Afterward, he played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the orchestra, where it became clear that he is also a real concert pianist. The polish he displayed in this piece was very refined, and the rhythmic elements projected with a great deal of subtlety... The pianist concluded his performance with a 'jazz encore' that may have been even more breathtaking than his first set.
- Haarlems Dagblad (The Netherlands)
Geoffrey Burleson possesses every advantage to evoke what the word blue' tells us, in the famous Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. After the vivid clarinet solo that literally sets the tone, the pianist created the sensation that all of his notes were actually part of an improvisation. It is a rare experience that one hears such a gift to the composer Gershwin, without even mentioning the intensity and the naturalness with which Burleson plays... Encore Burleson!
- Gelders Dagblad (The Netherlands)
BBC Music Choice (5/5 stars): Persichetti's 12 Sonatas for piano come as something of a revelation. A single musical personality runs through them all, revealed in consistently engaging invention, a strong feeling for attractive keyboard colours, whether in lithe counterpoint, limpid chords or sonorous climaxes, and a sense of form and proportion which ensures that nothing outstays its welcome. Geoffrey Burleson's outstanding performances have clearly been a labour of love, and they're recorded with exceptional fidelity. An impressive achievement all round.
- Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine
Although Vincent Persichetti's 12 piano sonatas embrace a marked stylistic evolution over four decades, each is skilfully crafted, concise, assured and effectively though never garishly wrought for the keyboard, reflecting the composer's considerable pianism. Even the barest polyphonic writing is deployed with such registral care that it never sounds thin or dry. Conversely, climactic chordal passages make a clear, sonorous and clutter-free impact. Certainly Geoffrey Burleson not only observes to a proverbial tee but also relishes the composer's meticulous expressive and dynamic contrasts, elaborate pedal indication and precisely worked-out metric modulations. In fact each sonata comes alive by virtue of Burleson's intelligent virtuosity and caring musicianship, qualities that also manifest in his annotations. It's good finally to have all the sonatas brought together in a world-class, excellently engineered reference edition that constitutes a major addition to the catalog.
- Jed Distler, Gramophone
A well-done, resounding performance. Pianist Geoffrey Burleson showed off all the possibilities of the Steinway Concert Grand.
- Berner Zeitung (Switzerland)
The presence of Burleson in Puebla signifies a rapproachment with the current innovations of contemporary music...without a doubt, this magnificent pianist captivated the audience.
- Al de Puebla (Mexico)
Burleson played excellently. His sound was substantive even in the softest passages, and in loud sections he played with a strong tone that was free of ugly pounding...the program benefited mightily from this pianist's keen ear for timbral subtlety. A perfect ear for both minutiae and larger concerns... bravos go to Burleson for his four-star musical cookery.
- The New Music Connoisseur
Geoffrey Burleson, Pianist
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