Janoska Style goes Symphonic

Since the release on Deutsche Grammophon of the Janoska Ensemble’s debut album “Janoska Style”, that same Janoska Style has evolved into a brand and a guarantee of quality.

The success of the ensemble is the proof. Since their CD presentation in 2016, these creative musicians have won the hearts of thousands of enthusiastic fans on four continents with their unique talent for combining different musical genres.

 

 

Variations, improvisations and a stream of new musical settings make up their programmes. So it is no surprise that the four musicians are more than equal to the large-scale form: their first symphonic programme “Janoska Style goes Symphonic” takes it for granted that the breathtaking numbers on that gold-status CD belong on the concert platform. Sophisticated arrangements merge and separate the roles of orchestra and soloists in a sequence that could be spontaneous, so natural is it.

Despite the written-out orchestral parts, the concerted playing always sounds flexible and free. If the orchestra takes a back seat for the four soloists, it soon returns in full force to take part in the stupendous Janoska Style. Nor does that apply just to the many fast numbers on the programme. Gentle “sweet treats” like the elegiac yearning of “Contigo della Distancia” shimmer above an enchanting backdrop of orchestral voices: Janoska Style in Cinemascope.

The Art of Improvisation (Janoska Masterclass)

In 2013 four closely related musicians worked out that from now on, despite all their attractive music projects, they wanted to make music only as a team: brothers Ondrej and Roman Janoska playing violins, a third brother František at the piano and their cousin Julius Darvas on double-bass. A tradition of family musicianship grew into a professional artistic project, ambitiously pursued: the “Janoska Ensemble” was born!

These days, the Janoska Ensemble is a group in international demand. Its unique Janoska Style wows thousands of fans worldwide, its debut CD “Janoska Style” went gold within  months. This success is due in the first place to the imaginative arrangements and the synthesis of musical styles, but that would count for nothing without the perfect musicianship of these performers, which arouses genuine admiration among their artistic colleagues.

Thanks to their long-maturing intuition for one another, the four instrumentalists effortlessly make music “as if with a single voice”. They play in the knowledge that they are all totally present at all times, able to react spontaneously to improvised interjections. Each of them knows from the others that these reactions “come off” musically and that each free phrase will be followed by perfectly timed instrumental concord.

To help aspiring musicians gain more self-confidence in the practice of improvisation, the musicians of the Janoska Ensemble have for some years now been holding workshops, in Hong Kong for instance, where the Janoska Style has won many fans among students of classical music. The four musicians put a lot of energy into teaching practical playing techniques and explaining the music theory that underlies free invention. Their aim is to bring the art of improvisation closer to classical music, now that the “know-how” of musically coherent freedom in “serious” music has largely disappeared.

The Janoska Ensemble is thus on a kind of ongoing “Improvisation Mission”, leading them in 2017 to the renowned Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy. Reactions from course participants were pretty euphoric. One after another, they say that working with the Janoska Ensemble has given them much more confidence to improvise freely in a classical context.

To date some 100 music students on four continents have bidden farewell to their four short-term teachers from Vienna with radiant smiles. This work as ambassadors of the rejuvenated art of improvisation, which has won them so many new friends, can be set beside their great concert performances as an additional cross-cultural achievement of the Janoska Ensemble.

The Big Mulatság

Mulatság” is the Hungarian word for feast. What “Janoska” means has likewise made the rounds: thrilling music from every stylistic current and musical improvisation at the highest level. For New Year’s Eve the Janoskas have prepared a special treat: they’ve sent moderator Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz on a musical wild-goose chase. Find the lost tune and the Big Mulatság!

 

 

The journey takes us all over the continent and far beyond. We meet the superb “street trumpeter” Thomas Gansch in Paris, the flamenco dancer Nina Corti in Granada, the soprano Daniela Fally in Budapest, the dance troupe Roma Festo in Rumania and, in Buenos Aires, Uncle Ferry Janoska, serving us (what else!) tangos with his bandoneon. No less conventional than the itinerary is the boldly imaginative and highly virtuosic way that the Janoskas treat the classics and their own compositions: they sprinkle Balkan rhythms into Johann Strauss’s Fledermaus Overture, add Cole Porter to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and a dash of rumba to Mozart. Béla Korény’s spicy Rumanian Dances rub shoulders with the nostalgic Robert Stolz standard Spiel auf deiner Geige – “Play Your Violin” (the violinists Bandi, Ondrej and Roman Janoska don’t have to be asked twice!). At the end of this remarkable New Year’s event you’ll know exactly what mulatság means. After all, you’ll have been smack dab in the middle of it!