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A Violin's Life: The Lipinski Strad

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A Violin's Life: The Lipinski Strad
A Violin's Life: The Lipinski Strad


Frank Almond, leader of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, chronicles the provenance and history of the fabled "Lipinski" Strad, performing works by Tartini, Schumann, Julius Röntgen and the instrument's namesake Polish virtuoso, accompanied by pianist William Wolfram.

'A Violin's Life' traces the provenance and history of the "Lipinski" Strad, one of the most notable of the coveted string maker's instruments which are worth millions today. Crafted in 1715, the violin is named for the Polish virtuoso Karol Lipinski, who played this instrument from c. 1818 until his death in 1861. Lipinski was given the violin by a student of the legendary Giuseppe Tartini, the instrument's first known owner. Known in his lifetime as a violinist, composer, concertmaster, and pedagogue, Lipinski associated with some of the most famous cultural figures of the time, including Liszt, Paganini, and Schumann, who so admired Lipinski that he dedicated his famous piano work "Carnaval" to him. After Lipinski's death the instrument eventually came into the Röntgen family, which included the composer Julius Röntgen. In the 20th century the violin changed hands several times, in 1962 arriving in the possession of the Estonian violinist Evi Liivak, who passed away in 1996.

Frank Almond, leader of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, has played on the "Lipinski" Strad since 2008. Envisaging a project that chronicled the extraordinary history of this violin and its associations, he has made a recording that includes Tartini's most famous work, the "Devil's Trill" Sonata, a virtuoso solo piece by Lipinski, one of Röntgen's unjustly neglected violin sonatas, and the stupendous Sonata in D minor of Robert Schumann, certainly performed during their lifetimes with Schumann at the piano and Lipinski playing this very instrument. William Wolfram is Frank's estimable accompanist.

Personnel: Frank Almond (violin), William Wolfram (piano)

Critical acclaim for Frank Almond:

"Intoxicating brilliance and immense panache" - The Strad

"What is special about these interpretations is their perfect balancing of ear, head, and heart. Certainly they are musicians of rare taste and intelligence...Almond and Wolfram tower above giants." - American Record Guide


  1. Name
  2. GIUSEPPE TARTINI: Sonata in G minor 'Il trillo del Diavolo', I. Larghetto affettuoso
  3. II. Tempo giusto
  4. III.
  5. JULIUS RÖNTGEN: Violin Sonata No. 2 in F sharp, Op. 20, I. Allegro non troppo
  6. II. Con animazione
  7. III. Agitato
  8. KAROL LIPINSKI: Caprice Op. 29, No. 3
  9. ROBERT SCHUMANN: Violin Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121, I. Ziemlich langsam - Lebhaft
  10. II. Sehr lebhaft
  11. III. Leise, einfach
  12. IV. Bewegt
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