I had the right conductor in mind but the wrong name at hand: it is of course Michael Sanderling who will be the new conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic, not his elder brother Thomas.
Michael Sanderling, who I was much impressed with when he recently pulled a difficult concert off very well (having to stand in on short notice for Riccardo Muti and meeting the BRSO in one of its less-than-genial moods), has a new job, and it’s a pretty terrific one: He is the new music director of the Dresden Philharmonic. Not to be mistaken with the more famous Staatskapelle (which just finished its North American tour in Washington, D.C.), it’s a major orchestra with a reputation, history, and discography that would be the envy of many other orchestral bodies in the world. In fact, I can’t think of any city even remotely the size of Dresden (the population hovers around half a million) that has a ‘second’ orchestra anywhere as good.
Thomas Sanderling succeeds Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and steps into a line of conductors that include (in reverse chronological order) Marek Janowski, Michel Plasson, Herbert Kegel, Günther Herbig (a Baltimore regular, appearing this month with the BSO, I believe), Kurt Masur, Heinz Bongartz, Carl Schuricht, and Paul van Kempen. He will start his tenure just as Christian Thielemann will start his with the neighboring orchestra: This should spell exciting times for music lovers in and near Dresden.
Below I’ve selected a few favorite discs from their vast discography—which happens to include what I consider the very best choice for Liszt Piano Concertos.