duration: 10 minutes
Three Gifts performed live by Geoffrey Burleson at the Estonian House, NY on September 18, 2021:
Three Gifts is a set of three piano pieces which were each written for a particular pianist. The pieces may be performed separately or together in any combination. I tried to write each piece in a way that would reﬂect the pianist’s particular technique and musical preferences. Though no direct quotations are used, you may hear suggestions of various composers ﬁltering through the pieces.
For Henry was written for my friend Henry Shapiro, an English professor and pianist. For Henry is about three and a half minutes long.
For Brian was written for Brian Connelly, my piano teacher at Rice University, on the occasion of his 50th birthday. For Brian is about two minutes long.
For Camille was written for a pianist and friend, Camille Chitwood. Ms. Chitwood has three ﬁngers on each hand. While she is able to play much of the standard piano repertoire, I wanted me to write a piece for her that was speciﬁcally written with her hands in mind. At ﬁrst a little unsure of how to proceed, I ended up working mostly at the piano, with my fourth and ﬁfth ﬁngers tucked under, to roughly approximate the span of Ms. Chitwood’s hands. Though this felt awkward at ﬁrst, it gradually became more comfortable, and the unusual physical sensation of playing in this way felt surprisingly liberating. I felt creative, unencumbered by many of the pianistic stereotypes that had been engrained in my hands through many years of playing classical repertory. Armed with this new sense of physicality, my hands worked along with my ears to guide me as I was writing. The resulting pointillistic texture, is carried through alternating sections of bold vigor and meditation. For Camille is about four and a half minutes long.