Let's be clear what Atelier Series Vocal Collection ~ Volkslied is. It is not a compilation of vocal tracks from the series and instead Atelier Vocal Historia fulfils this purpose. It is rather an arranged album that adapts mostly instrumental themes from across the series into vocal arrangements true to the Atelier style. Atelier vocal tracks are always bound to be a select taste, so many will want to sit out of this album. However, a lot of others will find themselves endeared by it.
The opener adapts Atelier Elie's "A Big Production" into a emotional ballad. The introduction is richly orchestrated, eventually giving way to Azumi Inoue's performance, which is so bold and resonant that it sounds like it could come out of a musical. While a very personal song, a sense of the light and magical aura of the series is still created with the eventually buoyant instrumentals. The adaptation of Atelier Viorate's "Baum Kuchen" will delight anyone who enjoys youthful and frivolous vocals. Haruka Shimotsuki certainly has an endearing voice compared to many vocalists with a similar style and the whole arrangement has a great lyrical flow. In "Distant Hometown", her voice is more like a radiant force coming out of the Celtic instrumentals most fondly remember from the original.
There are some less impressive additions to the disc. Fumiko Tada's interpretation of Atelier Iris -Eternal Mana 2-'s "Eternal Story" just seems plain compared to the original version. Meanwhile the duet adaptation of an Atelier Judie theme will sound annoying and forced to many people. It's certainly a creative arrangement with its polka influences and contrasting vocal passages, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is worth relistening to. Those who don't mind a slightly sentimental and superficial sound won't have much problem with the rest of the arrangements on the album.
Some of the most sentimental pieces on the album strip down the instrumentals to the bare minimum. A good example is Hermina and Culus' "My Decision" where Fumiko Tada's vocals beautifully radiate against soft acoustic guitar and piano work. Even better is "Iris", which almost has a new age feel with its ethereal vocal and guitar set-up. However, opinions are likely to be mixed about Atelier Iris -Eternal Mana 2-'s "The Door to the Journey". Whereas the original was a female vocal theme, this features a performance by male vocalist with mere piano accompaniment. The performance is actually beautifully done and Taku Kitahara's turmoil is reflected with every word. That said, the actual set-up and development is very sentimental, to the extent that many will find it sickeningly insincere.
This vocal collection is certainly a select taste. It's one thing to like the light-hearted and organic instrumental pieces that most of these arrangements were adapted from. However, the addition of girly vocal performances and contrived set-ups might be a step too far for most people. Those who enjoyed the Atelier vocal themes of old will find themselves at home here and be largely impressed with how the original themes were adapted. The rest should probably stay away.