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Camerata of St John's Gypsy

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Shenzo Gregorio took violin music to new heights (literally) when he played classical music while flying on a high wire.

The QPAC Concert Hall does not lend itself to such exuberance, but Shenzo and the Camerata came close. Your ageing reviewer will never think of Brahms Hungarian Dance in the same way again. Shenzo took the melodic themes, and showcased them with breathtaking virtuosity, aided and abetted by Camerata in celebratory mode. Every drop of emotion was wrung out of the music, every chance to celebrate melody and joy. As Shenzo moved the melody up the scale, finally playing so softly at a register which was almost too high to hear, there were murmurs of astonishment and appreciation, leading to a roar of applause that would have befitted a rock concert.

We saw a new side of Brendan Joyce (Camerata leader) as he mirrored the virtuosity exuberance and sheer joy of his soloist.

This was music unashamedly in love with itself, and communicating that passion and that joy irresistibly to and through orchestra and audience.

Say it quietly, in most concerts there are some choices that we endure, in order to have the ones that we love.

Not so in "Gypsy".

Each and every choice engaged and thrilled.

Silvia Entcheva had something of Piaf, something of Callas, something of Mouskouri, something of Baez and a lot of herself as she took us away to imagined camp-fires and a travelling people whose musicality embraced and transformed (inter alia) the traditions of Hungary, Pakistan, France, and Greece. We happily clapped along (though, for all our enthusiasm we were somewhat lacking in rhythm). Not that it mattered, the Camerata and their soloists had more than enough.

This concert was unforgettable.

It may well have been the single most joyous musical celebration I have been privileged to attend.

Please, Camerata, bring them back. We'll be there.


Bartok Rumanian Folk Dances, and Divertimento (3rd movement)

Brahms Hungarian Dances

Sarasate Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op.20

Skalkottas Five Greek Dances

Patterson Breaza a la Camerata

Arrangements of Romanian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern tunes by Cemil Bey (Turkish)

"Re-Gypsified" versions of Ketelby's In a Persian Market, Monti's Czardas, DeFalla's Ritual Firedance

Bulgarian and Macedonian gypsy songs

Plus Gypsy jazz tunes including Dark eyes, Nuages, and Caravan


Shenzo Gregorio, violin,
Silvia Entcheva, singer
Nawres Alfreh, joza tarhu

Creative Team:

Michael Patterson and players of Camerata of St John's
Michael Patterson, arrangements
Shenzo Gregorio, arrangements
Katherine Philp, arrangements
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Why? sheer joy
When: 4 December
Where: Concert Hall
Cost: $80 - $120
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