01 - Fledermaus
Johann Strauss, Die Fledermaus Overture à la Janoska
FJ: In the first piece, which is effectively the CD’s overture, we already reveal many of the facets that make up the Janoska style.
OJ: In our arrangement of Johann Strauss’s Fledermaus Overture the various themes are treated in stylistically different ways: jazz, Balkan music and, of course, the waltz. The result is essentially a kaleidoscopic vision of the various styles that in our eyes make Vienna the musical centre that it is.
RJ: And in the middle of the piece we despatch the bat of the title down a whole series of endless streets. The popular Russian song Dorogoi dlinnoyu means something like “down the long road”. It is a well-known tune which outside Russia is familiar above all in the English-language version, Those Were the Days.
02 - Liebesleid
Fritz Kreisler, Liebesleid
FJ: Fritz Kreisler is a man very dear to our hearts –for him, too, Vienna was the starting point for music that was inspired by various different nations.
JD: Our version of Liebesleid is inspired by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s virtuoso piano version of 1931 but it has, of course, been even further embellished by us.
03 - Musette
František Janoska, Musette pour Fritz
FJ: This piece was written in a café in the Rue de Rome in Paris, where I spent a lot of my time. It was inspired by Kreisler’s Schön Rosmarin –like his Liebesleid, one of the three Alt-Wiener Tanzweisen that were first published in 1905. I have taken over its basic structure in order to produce a minor-key musette that invites its performers to improvise at some length.
04 - Carmen
Franz Waxman, Carmen Fantasie
RJ: Franz Waxman’s fantasy on Bizet’s themes dates from the 1940s. In much the same way we have dissected Waxman’s piece and reassembled it using ideas of our own.
OJ: The result is to all intents and purposes a new work that offers scope not only for inwardness in the interplay between the different instruments but also for energetic improvisation, virtuoso solo writing and bravura cadenzas.
05 - Thais
Jules Massenet, Thaïs Meditation
RJ: Normally it is the violin that is allotted the solo part in this intermezzo from Massenet’s opera Thaïs, but in our version František plays the part on the piano and, initially at least, listeners wait in vain for the violin to enter.
FJ: This exchange of roles is typical of our style. When arranging an existing work, I make sure that every soloist has a chance to shine.
06 - Paganini
Niccolò Paganini, Paganinoska (Caprice No. 24)
RJ: What kind of music would Paganini have written if he had been living today? Perhaps he would have become a jazz musicians in order to give free rein to his virtuosity and his wealth of melodic ideas.
OJ: Our version of his famous Caprice represents a meeting of minds between the historical Paganini and a speculative counterpart who has travelled to the 20th or 21st century for a musical battle. I play the variations as written by Paganini, and Roman then responds with one of his jazz improvisations.
JD: There is also a brief guest appearance by a Hungarian csárdás before the grand finale follows.
07 - Melodi
Roman Janoska, Melodie for Melody
RJ: I wrote this piece for my daughter Melody on the occasion of her birth.OJ: And, as the name implies, the violins are really allowed to sing in this piece and to revel in the work’s melodies.
08 - Bossa for a
František Janoska, Rumba for Amadeus
FJ: Our children all have musical names –this piece is dedicated to my oldest son, Amadeus, but it also relates, of course, to the music of the great Amadeus.
RJ: František has taken the opening bars of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor as the main theme of his rumba. It is a thrilling piece with its Latin American rhythms and offers ample opportunity for improvisation –in my own case with my voice and violin, which I play using a very special performance technique similar to that associated with a rhythm guitar.
09 - Sara niska
Pablo de Sarasate / Trad., Tarantella vs. Niška Banja
JD: Niška Banja is a village in Serbia known for its music, especially the niška banja dance in 9/8 time.
OJ: In this piece we are sending the famous Spanish violin virtuoso and composer Pablo de Sarasate on a trip to Serbia. His Introduction et Tarantelle dates from 1899 and is clearly at home in Niška Banja.
FJ: The 3/8 metre of the tarantella combines wonderfully well with the 9/8 metre of the local niška banja: two European dances merge to provide the music for an altogether uproarious party.
10 - Adios
Astor Piazzolla, Adiós Nonino
RJ: We have always been interested in the tango, but we were able to immerse ourselves even more thoroughly in the genre as a result of Rojotango, an earlier project of ours with the Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott.
FJ: Astor Piazzolla’s piece is very typical of his style, very emotional, but we have tried to perform it in our own Janoska style. I start by playing an improvised introduction on the piano. Solo passages like this are very important to us, since each of us has the opportunity to create something very personal and to savour the moment, regardless of what may be found in the actual notes.
OJ: Astor Piazzolla originally wrote this piece for his late father, whose nickname was Nonino. It is, as it were, a valedictory songand, as such, it is an appropriate way of rounding off our CD.