Janoska Ensemble: Revolution
This second album from the three brothers from Bratislava and their brother-in-law from Switzerland may hardly be revolutionary but it’s lots of fun and mildly addictive. In fact, there’s evidence that Janoska is beginning to take the US by storm. After touring eight cities in 2017, they returned in April to play 10 more, including the Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York – where Dorian Recordings made its fabled audiophile recordings – San Antonio and Green Bay. YouTube shows them to be most charismatic performers.
Janoska’s take on Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro is appropriately outrageous for a piece that was itself a fake, interrupting the ‘original’ formality with brilliant riffs and cadenzas so wildly imaginative that they seem just right. Their Air from Bach’s Third Suite, featuring brother-in law Julius Darvas, is straight out of a Django Reinhardt/Stéphane Grappelli dream. The Marriage of Figaro Overture begins with the Marseillaise and finds additional colour and manic hilarity in klezmer tunes and attitudes, complete with cimbalom, before finding its way back to the Mozart.
These are far from computer-derived concoctions. A pizzicato violin playing the opening movement of Bach’s First Cello Suite provides a haunting subtext to ‘Yesterday’, one of three Beatles songs. And they tangle up Cole Porter’s ‘Night and day’ with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in some very intoxicating ways.
Janoska show a human touch too, Roman and František writing sweet songs for their young sons, the latter’s punctuated at the end by a child’s laugh. Vividly recorded at Tonzauber Studios in Vienna.