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Gratuitous violins: BFCM Mozart marathon

for The Brooklyn Paper
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And you thought the marathon was only in the fall.

Next week, Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music will offer a marathon of its own: a nine-hour, one-day-only performance of 10 Mozart violin sonatas.

The Jan. 21 concert coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, where Friends of Chamber Music concerts have been held for nearly 20 years.

“It’s the 150th anniversary of the church [so] we wanted to do this [marathon] in their honor,” says Wanda Fleck, co-founder of the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music.

Like the more-famous, five-borough slog, this marathon requires plenty of advance planning, strategy and training to avoid hitting the wall.

Performers will begin playing the first six sonatas at 3 pm, followed by a break for dinner (organizers are talking to restaurants near the church to ensure audience members will get a special meal deal that day).

After dinner, four more sonatas will be performed, followed by dessert for the audience and also the performers, who include such Mozart mavens as violinists Bella Hristova, Daniel Kahlikov and Amaury Coeytaux, and pianists Thomas Muraco and Reiko Uchida.

Even the choice of sonatas had to be considered in advance.

“I asked the violinists to choose which two sonatas they wanted to play, and quite by some miracle, none of them chose the same sonatas!” Fleck says.

While everyone’s eyes will be on the violinists (they’re the Ethopians in this extended marathon metaphor), the two pianists will be in the front pack all the way, Fleck says.

“Even though they are technically called the ‘violin and piano sonatas,’ the pianist has an enormous amount to do.”

The program includes three of Mozart’s greatest works: the thoroughly ingratiating E-flat major sonata “K. 481” opens the afternoon’s festivities, with the B-flat major masterpiece “K. 454” closing the first half.

Finally, wrapping up the entire day is the last violin sonata Mozart ever composed, the A-major sonata “K. 526,” which for all its sunny surface appeal, has a deceptively treacherous keyboard part which will surely test Uchida’s considerable abilities.

Fleck says she’s especially excited because the violin sonatas are often lost in the shuffle of Mozart’s better-known classics.

“I personally love the sonatas,” Fleck says. “If I was going to the proverbial desert island with only one thing to listen to, it would be these sonatas.”

The Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music present Mozart’s Violin Sonatas on Jan. 21 at 3 pm at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (85 S. Oxford St. in Fort Greene). Tickets: $15 at the door, $10 in advance, $5 for students. For information, call (718) 855-305 or visit their Web site at www.brooklynfriendso....

Updated 4:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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