"Amor vincit omnia," love conquers all, was a scrap of classical poetry that has come down to the present day and might be taken as a motto for medieval-era secular song. That's how the Ensemble a Chantar, lutenist Marc Lewon, and soprano Regina Kabis see it. They present a collection of medieval love songs from various countries, emphasizing the connections between them: the language and especially the modes of expression, with both male composers and the genre's sole surviving female trobairitz writing songs from the female perspective in addition to the more conventional and at least subliminally religious courtly love imagery of the knight pining way for an unattainable love object. There isn't anything groundbreaking about this release as compared with the numerous other collections of medieval songs, most of which are love songs, but the way it's put together the program makes dramatic sense. The dramatic effect is heightened by Kabis' full-blooded singing, almost operatic on Oswald von Wolkenstein's Kreuslich geboren (track 16) and by the vigorous instrumental accompaniment and dance rhythms in the instrumental pieces, provided by percussionist Murat Coskun. All this works very well; there's nothing medieval-fair-ish about this performance at all. The only thing preventing this release from being a perfect introduction to medieval song for general anglophone listeners is the booklet, which provides texts only in German and the original language, where that is not German already.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim