Live Music Review: Dresden Philarmonic

Words: Kevin Stanley
Tuesday 29 May 2018
reading time: min, words

Her speed, accuracy and mental agility was astonishing...


Watching the Dresden Philharmonic orchestra is full flow is a wonderful experience - a unique pleasure to watch a full orchestra in action and an aural delight. This 107-piece orchestra that will soon celebrate its 150th year works together perfectly under its talented conductor, Berlin-born, Michael Sanderling - one of the most distinguished conductors of our time.

Arabella Steinbacher - one of the world's leading violinists - was naturally the highlight of the performance. This 37 year old German classical violinist, who also has Japanese heritage, began playing violin at the age of three, later enrolling at the Munich College of Music with mentoring by Ana Chumachenco. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and tours with orchestras across the world and currently plays the Booth Stradivarius violin, an instrument that is over 300 years old, on loan to her from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Arabella is a performer of such talent, accuracy and blistering speed that if it were not for her striking beauty and passionate playing of her instrument one might believe her to be android. I confirmed her humanity when I spoke to her in the interval when she was kind enough to autograph my programme. I enquired as to how many notes she played per second. She told me that she didn’t know - only that it was fast. This is of course an understatement, her speed, accuracy and mental agility is astonishing. Steinbacher played her entire performance without the aid of sheet music, playing what must have been thousands of notes, purely from memory. A phenomenal ability and a truly astonishing display.

No less professional, of course, was the Dresden Philharmonic orchestra itself, treating the audience to movements from Tchaikovsky in the first half of the evening and Shostakovich in the second. Watching the individual players at work with their instruments was a thrilling experience, in perfect time and unison to Michael Sanderling's baton, creating a glorious sound. Marvellous.

Dresden Philharmonic played at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall as part of Nottingham Classics International Concert Season on Thursday 24 May 2018.

  • Tchaikovsky - Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
  • Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto
  • Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5

Nottingham Classics

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