The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 10, 2014

MSO's chamber series tackles trio of legendary composers

Lydia Miller will have to save a little something extra for the finale of Sunday's performance.

Representing the second of four installments for the Mankato Symphony Orchestra's Music on the Hill chamber series, "The Three Bs" showcases violinist Miller with acclaimed pianist/organist Mary Jo Gothmann on a trio of works by the legendary composers Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

Gothmann will open the concert with a solo organ rendition of Bach's immediately recognizable Toccata and Fugue. Miller will join Gothmann for the second number, Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 10, a warm and ethereal piece that Miller also described as being "quirky." Considered the most unusual of Beethoven's 10 violin sonatas, No. 10 is remarkable for a final movement characterized by unexpected tempo and elaborate ornamentation.

"As musicians, sometimes the less we do, the better it is," said Miller, summarizing her interpretation of the piece. "When we encounter something we don't understand, sometimes we just have to be let it be curious."

But the final piece is the one for which Miller has been waiting.

Though Miller said all three pieces were chosen from her personal wish list of compositions she's wanted to perform, she said it is Brahms' Violin Sonata No. 3 that has most captivated her attention. The only one of Brahms' violin sonatas written in four movements, it is the last movement — impassioned, frenzied and almost tarantella-like in its build-up to a rapturous and climactic conclusion — that will test the violinist's stamina.

"It concludes with this race to the end," Miller said. "You take everything you've got left, throw it out there and go out big."

For more information about the concert, visit www.mankatosymphony.com.

If You Go What MSO's Music on the Hill presents "The Three Bs" When 2 p.m. on Sunday (followed by a light reception) Where Good Counsel Chapel, 170 Good Counsel Drive Tickets $15

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