Though already in business in 1961 with his own record label, Frank Sinatra was contractually obligated to give Capitol one more record before moving on to Reprise. Sinatra gave them the ironically titled Point of No Return, which is hardly the deal-fulfilling throwaway one might expect. Expertly arranged and conducted by longtime Sinatra ally Alex Stordahl, it's an elegant collection of farewell songs (including "I'll See You Again," "As Time Goes By," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "It's a Blue World"), delivered by Sinatra with a profound sense of sadness and loss. Fans of such downbeat Sinatra concept albums as In the Wee Small Hours and Sings for Only the Lonely would do well to pick up on this oft-overlooked gem.
Frank Peter Zimmermann offers a fresh and exciting view of the Violin Concerto, less sentimental than some, with swift tempos and a dazzlingly swift finale. He phrasing is sometimes a touch angular, particularly in the first movement, and this usually works well, putting an arresting slant on tunes we feel we've heard a million times before. Only the very opening misfires a bit: yes, it's marked mezzo-forte, but it's also marked "dolce ed espressivo", and Zimmermann's somewhat wiry tone is neither.