Frank Almond, leader of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, plays everything on this disc with a slightly old-fashioned air, the concentration of tone conveying the message that he’s in love not just with every twist and turn of the music but also every sound he can coax from his very special instrument…
Irish Times http://tinyurl.com/klp3x65 →
In each, Almond plays as if his fiddle’s life was on the line – in his hands, the “Lipinski” flourishes and shines in notes spun out with casual virtuosity and graceful poetry…
Strings Magazine http://tinyurl.com/ndvbcqs →
The fascination of Mozart’s violin, then, remains in the object itself. It doesn’t fully translate into sound — unlike the glorious “Lipinski” Stradivarius violin, for instance, which passed through the hands and lives of a number of composers beginning with Giuseppe Tartini, and whose fascinating journey is chronicled on a gorgeous recent CD, “A Violin’s Life,” with performances by Frank Almond…
NY Times June 2013
Almond’s singing tone and stylish phrasing were a constant pleasure in the Mozart Divertimento No. 15 (K. 287), which is practically a mini-violin concerto. Almond skittered playfully through some very intricate lines, then played a heartfelt, time-stopping adagio.
Classical music in Milwaukee has improved considerably in the last 10 years. There have been many contributing factors, including the redesign of Uihlein Hall and the new Schwan Concert Hall at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Not far below them in importance was the appointment of Frank Almond as concertmaster of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has uplifted the top-level music-making in this city more than any other one person. Almond was leader and featured soloist at Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra’s first concert of the season last Thursday at Schwan Hall. We all have learned to expect beautiful violin playing from him: a strong and singing tone, a flawless sense of pitch, energetic rhythm and an elegant ease of phrasing.
He demonstrated a lyrical gift, solid intonation and a confident sense of the drama of the work.
Dallas Morning News
After a luminous slow movement, the disc ends with an explosive finale which reaffirms the players’ unassailable technical mastery and absolute temperamental harmonisation. Some sort of standard is offered by Perlman and Ashkenazy; Almond and Wolfram are not out of place in such company. (Brahms Sonatas)
BBC Music Magazine
Almond…produced his winning performance by emphasizing the songlike, vocal qualities of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The piece’s pyrotechnics were in place and on target but, for Almond, showiness took second place to the work’s enticing melodicism.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Intense, extended applause greeted Frank Almond before he played a note of Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto Friday night; His solo appearances with the orchestra have been memorable occasions. Almond’s line glided, soared, darted and hovered upon and amid the shining or stormy energy of the orchestra. Conductor Andreas Delfs and the orchestral players shaped the sound around the solo line with command and the utmost sensitivity to the ever-changing textures as voices rose to sing in brief duets with the soloist, blended into distinct choirs, or merged into a single unified, atmospheric sound.
What is special about these interpretations is their perfect balancing of ear, head, and heart. Certainly they are musicians of rare taste and intelligence who have gauged the emotional content of each sonata to perfection. Despite valuable achievements by more famous duos in this music, this is easily the greatest Brahms I have ever heard. Almond and Wolfram tower above giants. (Brahms Sonatas)
American Record Guide
A young violinist with a razor-sharp memory and bow technique.
Intoxicating brilliance and immense panache.
Frank Almond… was the afternoon’s excellent soloist, providing a performance of the Glazunov violin concerto that was distinguished by fluid phrasing and a vigorous, singing tone.
The New York Times
…the players were exceptionally well-matched, tossing dizzying passages back and forth while playing off each other in phrasing and nuance and dynamics.
Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 10/03/06 http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=508329 →
“Sometimes a critic just wants to say Wow! This was a stunning artistic success, splendid and exquisite. Violinist Frank Almond assembled a group of MSO players that showed that the sky is the limit in sophisticated music-making in Milwaukee.”
Rick Walters, Shephard Express 1/25/07 http://shepherd-express.com/1editorialbody.lasso?-token.folder=2007-01-25&-token.story=176236.113121&-token.subpub= →
“Almond played introspectively but with an intense focus that pulled in the ear.”
Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 2/09/07 http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=564118 →
“I am deeply impressed by this duo’s musicianship and artistry. Almond and Wolfram are vastly superior artists to most of the big classical stars before the public today and pushed by the big record labels. I can think of a half dozen violinists who record for major labels whose musicianship can’t hold a candle to Almond and Wolfram.”
American Record Guide May/June 2007 http://www.frankalmond.com/press-downloads/ARG%20May-June2007.pdf →