There is often a grain of truth in a stereotype. That goes for the proverbial “troubled Russian soul”. The source of this description is immortalized in the rich literature of this vast land: dark, icy winters, endless landscapes, starkly contrasting modes of life and any amount of weighty history. All that finds its echo in the musical creations of Russian composers, who understand how to radiate melancholy in just a few bars. All the same, when the Janoska Ensemble takes its inspiration from the loveliest musical gems of the “Russian Soul”, there’s no risk of a frosty reception – on the contrary: there’s glowing musical passion in the air!

 

AUSTRIA / Janoska-Brüder © Julia Wesely

 

In the Janoska Ensemble’s “Russian Passion” programme, transcriptions and arrangements rub shoulders with imaginatively inspired new compositions, summoning up the well-known works of great names like Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Rimsky-Korsakov. These are often elegiac melodies with rich harmonies, irresistibly penetrating to the soul of the audience. Much is so rhythmically challenging, as ever, that the precise timing of the four musicians is tested from the very first bar to the last. Their “Russian Passion” is audibly apt terrain for the inimitable Janoska Style. It appears in the tender form of a Romance and it conjures up truly great cinema in the head, calling on the fourfold musical energy of the ensemble in each case. Painted on a large canvas, the Russian aural landscape would not be complete without the arrival in the programme of the energy-packed “Trans-Siberian Express”, which Béla Korény wrote specially for his good friends of the Ensemble.

Friends is the right word for the members of the Janoska Ensemble, too; they’re far more than “three brothers and a cousin”. Ondrej, František and Roman Janoska and their cousin Julius Darvas have been making music together since they were very young and each of them received a sound classical education. After that they went their separate ways, accumulating experience on the way, till in 2013 they came to the conclusion that they really wanted to play together and founded the Janoska Ensemble. Ever since, they have been developing themselves and the repertoire, venturing into one new field of music after another, flinging bridges across the chasms between. There are four continents with audiences regularly and eagerly asking for them. It goes without saying that they have appeared in Saint Petersburg and in Moscow. There are kindred souls everywhere, if it comes to that, and it is for these kindred spirits that they particularly like to make stupendous music. The Janoska Ensemble and its gargantuan Janoska Style – that is passion pure and simple!

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