This anthology samples 21 songs from the 130 works he left us in two illustrated manuscripts, and the texts reveal an astonishingly modern character. These poems, sometimes ribald and lusty, sometimes tender, even poignant, still speak directly to us.
Like troubadours of all ages (think of our own Bob Dylan) Von Wolkenstein was not too concerned about where he found his melodies, borrowing them from anyone and everywhere. It was his words and thoughts which were important. They are still revelatory. These medieval treasures are interpreted lovingly by the small Shield of Harmony ensemble (featuring soprano Kathleen Dineen) alongside counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, who is in particularly fine voice. I should say fine voices, as in some of the numbers he steps away from his customary counter-tenor mode to sing in his natural light baritone.
The recording was made in St Valentine’s Church, Kiedrich, where Andreas Scholl’s career began as a boy-chorister, aged seven. In his very personal liner notes, Andreas reveals that this also was where both his late sister and late father also sang. The recorded ambience is very natural. The love and warmth that flows from venue and songs is audible here too.