Last week I was struck with the thought of how so many wonderful things get overlooked. I went to a concert at King's Place - the beautiful new building housing The Guardian Newspaper offices located on the edge of the Regent's Canal at King's Cross. It's convenient for transport, houses two intimate concert halls, two art galleries and a wonderful entrance hall with cafe and dining facilities, a canal-side bar and comfortable sofas to meet one's friends. Sadly few people were there last Wednesday for a concert that was another overlooked gem.

The young Aurora Orchestra had curated a five day residency entitled 'From Vienna to Weimar' with a full programme of chamber music, lieder and cabaret song, film and study days. The concert I went to hear started the series - it was entitled Weimar Voices and was sung by the accomplished German baritone Christian Immler with renowned Viennese pianist Helmut Deutsch. And this was the surprise. The songs, most of which were in German with a few in English, were really beautiful. Names unfamiliar to most - Franz Schreker, Hans Gal and Berthold Goldschmidt, Hanns Eisler, Ernst Korngold, Alexander Zemlinsky and William Grosz - must have frightened off both timid and avid concert-goers alike. Those privileged to find themselves there had their senses permeated with rich, lyrical music and words - words of love, fantasy, philosophy, a set of poems by Shakespeare and a final, amusing touch - three ballades from the true American tradition. Christian Immler sung with a rich and beautiful tone, true to the style of each composer and bringing out the meaning of the lyrics. He gave maximum story-telling prowess to the three ballads at the end: Ballad of the Cripple-Guard and The Ballad of Nigger Jim by Hanns Eisler and The Ballad of Sammy Lee by Wilhelm Grosz. I forgot these three were in German! They were sung so expressively one could understand exactly what they meant. The piano accompaniment of Helmut Deutsch was stunning, belying the complexity of the piano parts and the unfamiliarity of these works.

These songs need to be heard and sung - they can only bring delight to a wider audience.

Jill Segal
2nd February 2010