This was an unusual multi-media event as the music, specially composed by Romanian virtuoso violinist Alexander Balanescu for two very different films by Gillian Lacey, was actually played live as they were shown. Balanescu's quartet seemed very at home playing in front of the screen and with using electronica and played superbly throughout an evening that had a strong emotional charge.

The first half consisted of Second Breath, Lacey's 50-minute narrative film, without words, of the life and achievement of Maurice Blik. He was in Belsen concentration camp and was rescued from a train going to a death camp. Blik now is a noted figurative sculptor living in England. Overall, I found this piece full of sadness and pain, despite the final sequence of Blik laughing and smiling to uplifting music from the quartet. Showing Blick's sculpture as jagged shards rapidly intercut with images of the Holocaust was intended as symbol of liberation but it did not have that effect for me.

The music's repeated pulses and sequences and Balanescu's soaring violin often created powerful emotions, but despite the quartet's brilliant playing over the 50 minutes, the music's impact was sometimes reduced by being too predictable. What will stay in the memory, though, was a single shocking screaming chord on Balaescu's violin, a precursor of the Holocaust and the destruction of Blik's family.

The second half opened with a purely musical piece, Mother. Written by Balanescu on his return to Romania from exile, it did not lift one's spirits. The main piece was Play: Ballet Russe on the Beach 1936/1940, Gillian Lacey's collage of footage of Ballet Russe soloists relaxing rather innocently on the beech spinning, leaping, and acting out made up melodramatic scenes on the sand. There was a lot of fun even laughter to be had from these visual images. Balanescu's music, however, disrupted and questioned this reaction, as it had a much darker, even doom-laden, quality. It was as if the music was a knowing observer, aware that this youthful energy was about to be caught up in the Second World War.