It is almost impossible to make such an eclectic collection of pieces cohere, but Danny Purtell and Willow Consort just about manage it. The music ranges from ‘Deep River’ and the Sacred Harp-influenced Soar Away by Carter Sleigh to the climax of Bern Herbolsheimer’s extraordinary setting of Seven Last Words, which almost deserves a disc of its own – all the more so, given the composer’s early death in 2016.
The choir tackles everything with relaxed authority and no strain, but the nature of the record makes it hard to absorb as a whole. Frank Ticheli’s threnody for a child, There Will Be Rest, sits oddly between Norman Luboff’s arrangement of ‘Were You There’ and the Herbolsheimer piece. For once, Stephen Paulus is eclipsed, even though he claims the title piece.