Juli Nunlist




SPELLS, a new retrospective collection highlighting the music of poet and composer Juli Nunlist, marks a touching journey through the earnest, romantic, and dramatic sounds of the late artist’s compositional language. The album’s works demonstrate Nunlist’s appreciation for tradition and grandeur, and are driven by her remarkable gift for melody and clear fascination with instrumental texture.


Nunlist’s literary background seems to inform the potency of the album’s vocal works, including the intimate a cappella choral arrangement on the title track, a choral setting of six poems by the English poet Kathleen Raine; and the epic Six Chansons from Prières dans l’arches, for vocal soloists and orchestra. Though these pieces feature contrasting instrumentations, they both display the composer’s effortless text setting and brilliantly sensitive orchestration.


In each, her compelling writing brings the given text to life, and activates the nuance of its narrative and symbolism with intricate vocal and instrumental arrangements. To this end, Spells uses subtle melodic, harmonic, and textural recurrences to convey an enveloping and somewhat cyclical form.


The Six Chansons, on the other hand, build vast sonic wonderlands, imaged through Nunlist’s incredible command of orchestral space and density. Each of the Chansons pairs vocalists and a large instrumental ensemble, with some of the work’s most compelling moments arising from these unique and highly exposed pairings, such as solo mezzo-soprano and celeste.


The album’s romantic centerpiece arrives with Nunlist’s String Quartet, a piece which hearkens back to the genre’s seminal nineteenth century masterpieces with its captivating melodies and gripping subversions of functional harmony. Moreover, in a structural sense, Nunlist’s String Quartet is one of the most impressive works on SPELLS, especially in its dramatic closing movement.


In the final moments of the piece, the music refuses to repose, and, on the strength of a new theme, the quartet gains energy and determination. This surprising turn in the work’s formal trajectory is unquestionably meaningful, and seems to demonstrate a fearless quality in Nunlist’s compositional perspective.




An educator, composer, musician, and poet, Juli Nunlist devoted much of her career to teaching music to dancers, dance teachers and choreographers. Her compositional catalog includes works for string quartet, piano, voice, chamber music, and symphony.


SPELLS is a retrospective album of Nunlist’s musical work, presenting a comprehensive look at the music she composed in her lifetime.


Her background as a poet influences Nunlist’s writing and setting of texts, particularly evident on the album’s two vocal works – Spells, based on poems by Kathleen Raine, and the Six Chansons from Prières dans l’arches, based on the poem by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold.


The instrumental works on this album include pieces for string quartet, flute, and clarinet, with the composer’s style being noticeably informed by Neoromantic themes.





Ruth Lomon














Release Date: May 12, 2017

Catalog #: NV6096





String QuartetThe Pedroia String QuartetJae Cosmos Lee violin   Rohan Gregory violinPeter Sulski viola   Jaques Lee Wood cello01   I 02   II 03   III04   IV Six Chansons from PrièresDans L’ArcheSlovak Radio Symphony Orchestra05   Prière du papillon06   Prière de l’alouette07   Prière de la colombe08   Prière des petits canards09   Prière du petit poisson rouge10   Prière de la tortue Two Symphonic PoemsSlovak Radio Symphony Orchestra11   I. The Sea and the Skylark12   II. Spring SpellsVox Futura  |  Andrew Shenton conductorNoel Smith director   Kathleen Raine poems13   Love Spell 14   Spell of Sleep 15   Spell Against Sorrow 16   Spell of Safekeeping17   Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home18   Spell of Creation




String Quartet

Recorded October 12, 2016 at Futura Productions

in Roslindale MA

Session Producer Jeff LeRoy

Session Engineer John Weston

Assistant Engineer Travis Karpak


Six Chansons from Prières

Dans L’Arche

Recorded June 17-22, 1996 in Bratislava, Slovakia


Two Symphonic Poems

Recorded June 17-22, 1996 in Bratislava, Slovakia



Recorded November 13, 2016 at Futura Productions

in Roslindale MA

Session Producer John Weston, Noel Smith

Session Engineer John Weston

Assistant Engineer Travis Karpak


Cover photograph by Chuck Kidd


Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Editing & Mixing Shaun Michaud

Mastering Lucas Paquette

Recording Session Manager Levi Brown

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

Graphic Design Emily Roulo, Ryan Harrison

Marketing Samantha Granville, John Higgins


Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.



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