The Times Tribune

 

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic’s second Master-works program of the current season may have set the bar to a heightened standard that may be difficult for even this fine orchestra to reach again. Before an audience of 1,250 on Friday evening at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, the orchestra combined talents with pianist Melissa Marse to present an impressive program of two of history’s best-known composers, and one that seems destined for her own fame. The Philharmonic opened with an amazing work entitled “Peachtree Street,” from composer Jennifer Higdon. “Peachtree Street” is a magnificent work from Ms. Higdon’s acclaimed suite, “City Scape.” Maestro Lawrence Loh and the Philharmonic players gave the piece artistic justice with a sparkling rendition of the work. The orchestra painted a beautiful musical portrait, both of the bustling yet quietly serene avenue that traverses through downtown Atlanta. Ms. Marse was positively superb during Edward Grieg’s “Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 16.” She played with a maturity in both technical presentation and artistic rendition. She is among a handful of artists who are able to transform impressive academic credentials (Juilliard and New England Conservatory), into critical accolades. Ms. Marse was eloquently majestic in her floor-length, shimmering red satin gown. Her playing yields a rare combination of clarity, warmth and technical mastery seldom seen. Her breathtaking technique during the final movement was a beauty to behold. She has a delicate, luminous approach that showed through brightly during Greig’s composition. She is an extraordinary pianist who has the talent to become one of this art form’s finest contributors. This was a superb addition to the season’s program by Mr. Loh. Following intermission, the orchestra completed Master-works II with a stirring rendition of Johannes Brahms “Symphony No. 4 in E Minor Op. 98.” Friday evening’s concert was one of yet another impressive program in an already stellar season. The concert will be repeated tonight at 8 at the Scranton Cultural Center.

 

Back to page