01 May 2023

Chamber music, piano or klezmer rhythms for masterpieces of silent film: three must-see cine-concerts at TIFF 2023.

Classics from the silent era of cinema, renowned musicians and composers, improvisation and traditional rhythms come together in three fabulous cine-concerts at the 22nd edition of Transilvania International Film Festival (9th – 18th June 2023, Cluj-Napoca).


Tickets for the cine-concerts and passes for TIFF 2023 are now on sale -

The series of cine-concerts opens with Manasse, a classic Romanian silent film recently restored by the National Film Archive, accompanied live by Volekh Quartet, on Sunday, 11th of June, at 19:30, at Cinema Dacia. Directed by Jean Mihail, based on Ronetti-Roman's play, the film tells the story of a forbidden love between Matei and Lelia, two young people of different ethnicities, in a small town in eastern Romania at the beginning of the 20th century. Hailed as "the film of the year" when it was released in 1925, Manasse is a landmark in the history of Romanian cinema, daring to adapt for the screen a play that, just a decade earlier, had been withdrawn from the National Theatre in Bucharest amid nationalist and anti-Semitic protests.

Volekh Quartet complements the film’s many twists and turns with its original instrumental score, combining elements of chamber music with themes unearthed from century-old archival sources. Volekh Quartet is a Bucharest-based klezmer ensemble focused on exploring connections between the traditional Yiddish and Romanian-Romani music repertoires of old-world Wallachia and Moldova. The ensemble consists of Mihai Balabaș (a multi-instrumentalist who plays with numerous international groups), Benjy Fox-Rosen (bassist and composer as well as conductor of the Vienna Stadttempel Choir), Marian Șerban (a master of the cymbal, including collaborations with Ennio Morricone, Ute Lemper and Elvis Costello) și Shaun Williams (ethnomusicologist, composer and multi-instrumentalist specialising in traditional Eastern European music).



On Wednesday, 14th of June, at the Museum of Art, at 21.30, we go on a journey into the dark realm of human nature with a silent horror film set to original music and live accompaniment by two renowned musicians, Stephen Horne and Martin PyneThe Unknown is a 1927 cult film by nonconformist Tod Browning - filmmaker, vaudeville actor, circus performer. Lon Chaney plays "Alonzo the Armless", a knife thrower who uses his legs to perform spectacular circus acts with Nanon (superbly acted by Joan Crawford), a scantily clad carnival girl he hopes to marry. Alonzo, however, is no mere circus performer, but a killer on the run from the police. In his quest to win the woman he loves, Alonzo is prepared to give up everything and, to achieve his goals, resorts to extreme measures.

Stephen Horne has long been internationally considered one of the leading silent film accompanists and has been a house pianist at London’s BFI Southbank for over thirty years. He has played in at all the major venues in the UK, from Barbican Centre to Imperial War Museum, and recorded music for many DVD and online releases of silent films. Martin Pyne is a composer, percussionist and musical improviser who plays mostly vibraphone, drums and various other percussion instruments.

The two presented The Unknown at the beginning of the year at The Barbican Center, in London.



The third cine-concert masterfully combines one of director F.W. Murnau's films, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (US, 1931), with original music by composer Violeta Dinescu and a live performance by Trio Contraste, together with Dorin Cuibariu, in an event presented by Ligeti Festival and Transylvania Art and Science at TIFF, on Friday 16th of June, at 19.00 at the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania - Reduta Hall. This year Ligeti Festival marks the centenary of the famous composer György Ligeti.

Directed by the author of the famous NosferatuF.W. Murnau, and co-written with another celebrated filmmaker, Robert J. Flaherty, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas is, in the words of Senses of Cinema, "the last gasp of cinema's lost paradise". Chosen as a sacred virgin of the island of Bora Bora, the beautiful Reri becomes taboo. She can no longer be touched by anyone, and any man who defies this rule will die. But Reri has a secret lover, and the two flee the island, enduring many hardships only to find that the curse has followed them. Tabu is a docu-fiction that combines Murnau's mastery of film and Flaherty's love of the beautiful islands and cultures of Polynesia. A visual poem (the film won an Oscar for Best Cinematography), its cinematic universe and tragic ending have made it a classic of film history.

The film can be seen at TIFF with the support of Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung Foundation ( from Wiesbaden.

Violeta Dinescu (celebrating her 70th birthday this year) is one of the most important European contemporary composers. A member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences in Salzburg (EASA) and professor of applied composition at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, her catalogue includes pieces ranging from chamber music to silent film music. Fascinated by the structure and the musical form of this legendary film, the composer came up with a material that has entered into dialogue with the people, places and story of Tabu, establishing correspondences, commentaries or counterpoints to the images on the screen. Trio Contraste has been active for more than three decades, promoting contemporary Romanian music and giving first auditions of works written by distinguished local composers. With appearances in prestigious contemporary music festivals in its portfolio, Trio Contraste has performed numerous recitals in Romania and abroad, quickly establishing itself as one of the most appreciated Romanian chamber ensembles. They will be joined on stage by special guest Dorin Cuibariu on clarinet and saxophone.


The cine-concerts of the Transilvania International Film Festival 2023 are presented with the support of MOL Romania