There was quite a buzz at the Barber on Wednesday. Many of the packed audience had come early to view the haunting Moon-rise over Europe exhibition in the art-gallery, and the musical programme on offer was one largely devoted to equally soul-stirring, proto-romantic vistas.

But the musical results were disturbing, and not for the reasons ventured by the composers, nor for the devoted, enthusiastic performances from the assured Academy of Ancient Music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Franz Benda, both employed by Frederick the Great in Potsdam, were desperately trying to break away from what had become a baroque strait-jacket of musical uniformity, creating instead sound-worlds which, in the words of Pavlo Beznosiuk, genial director of the AAM, promised us a "rather frenetic evening of avant-garde music - for the 1760s".

And avant-garde it certainly was, as it blew away the fusty cobwebs of accumulated tradition. Unfortunately what these composers supplied instead proved piecemeal, short-breathed, and profligate, tossing aside some wonderful ideas heard once and then forgotten.

Two CPE Bach String Symphonies and Benda's D minor Violin Concerto were fizzingly given by Beznosiuk and the AAM, upper strings bravely standing in true Sans Souci manner, but the musical roller-coasters had a nullifying effect.

It was left to the next generation to provide music of a more permanent quality. Haydn's C major Violin Concerto, springy and sunny, and Mozart's airy and energetic Divertimento K136 proved strange makeweights, but the awesome Adagio and Fugue which links Mozart directly with the Potsdam legacy was the evening's highlight.

Christopher Morley