Slovakian brothers Vladimir and Anton Jablokov are ace violin players who’ve graduated from busking in Ireland, where they now live, to recording contracts. They take familiar pieces and re-do them with lots of energy and fancy playing. We wondered for a moment who’d buy this, before remembering André Rieu and the world-wide following he has. You could dismiss this as dumbing down the classics, but Rieu brings folk into the world of classical music, which can only be good.
Vladimir and Anton play energetic and lively music that’s easy to listen to, and mostly familiar, even if only from adverts and television shows. This CD was recorded live over three nights of sold-out performances at the Wexford Arts Centre and focuses on popular Russian classical music, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich featuring, as well as more traditional tunes.
It opens with Cossacks Beyond The Danube, an excerpt from an opera about Cossacks living reluctantly under Ottoman rule, possibly used in Morecambe and Wise. Moscow Nights was recorded by Kenny Ball, while the Meadowlands was incorporated into a tune by the Waterboys. Those Were The Days is known as a Paul McCartney/Mary Hopkin hit, but was originally Russian.
It’s not particularly subtle but there are some moments of tenderness and, of course, it’s all well played. For serious classics’ fans, it’s probably akin to Now That’s What I Call Music to rock snobs, but anyone who just wants a nice tune will enjoy it.
Track listing: Cossacks beyond the Danube; Suite for Variety Orchestra: Waltz No.2; Moscow Nights; Meadowlands; Romeo and Juliet, Op.64, act one, Dance of the Knights, Montagues and Capulets; I Met You; Katushya’s Bumble Bee; Dark Is the Night; Kalinka; Theme from Sunflower; Dark Eyes; Theme from Cheburashka; Those Were the Days.