Release Date: April 26, 2019
Catalog #: NV6221
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music

Voices of Earth and Air Vol II

Works For Chorus

Scott Solak composer
Jonathan David Little composer
Helen Mackinnon composer
L Peter Deutsch composer
Juli Nunlist composer
Daniel Morse composer
Peter Greve composer
Whitman Brown composer

VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR VOL II presents the best that modern choral compositions have to offer. Settings of traditional prayers are mingled with ethereal stories and otherworldly visions, and each of the eight compositions both stand unique and work together harmoniously to create a collection that nods to the future of choral music.

Scott Solak’s Ave Maria starts off the collection. Richly tonal and resonant, the piece is written in memory of the composer’s mother, a second generation Polish Catholic. Ave Maria is followed by Jonathan Little’s Crucifixus, another rich, vibrant work that presents modern interpretations of historic performance techniques and fills space with an all-encompassing listening experience. Helen MacKinnon’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo demonstrates various moods throughout the piece, from tender to fiery and triumphant, all culminating in a glorious “Amen” to close the piece.

The album then shifts to L Peter Deutsch’s A Fisherman of the Inland Sea. With jagged intervals and interesting harmonies, and text by famed fantasy author Ursula K. LeGuin, the choir and a single narrator retell the melancholy story of a young fisherman’s loss resulting from a tryst in a magical underwater kingdom. Following this story is Juli Nunlist’s posthumously released Spells, an eerie, dissonant choral work that uses subtle recurrences to create an enveloping form. Daniel Morse’s Nachtlied is an otherworldly soundscape that uses the writings of Austrian Expressionist poet Georg Trakl. Creating a sense of ritual, the otherworldliness is amplified by the use of electronic sounds created through manipulating pre-existing audio.

Peter Greve’s invocation for organ and mixed choir, Give Us Peace, is made up of four expressions of peace from four religious traditions. It follows a narrative arc of joy within communities, followed by violence and destruction, and finally a reconciliation and expression of peace between four different ideas. The album concludes with Whitman Brown’s Psalm 23, a final return to sacred texts that creates a powerful bookend to the collection. Reverent and soothing, it gives a sense of conclusion to the journey of VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR VOL II.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Artist Information

Scott Solak


Scott Solak (b. 1961) has written works in a wide variety of genres, including solo piano, orchestral, and chamber music. The bulk of his output has been in the realm of vocal and choral music, both sacred and secular. Choral commissions include two full-length oratorios for church performance (Healing of the Blind Man and Welcome to Thy World, O King [Chevy Chase Concerts and Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church]; Velvet Shoes and This Music [Reston Chorale]; and The Day of Pentecost [private commission]. Instrumental commissions include Canzona for Oboe and Orchestra [Reston Community Orchestra]; Sonata di Gloria for two violins and piano [commissioned for the Chamasyan Sisters]; Slant of Light [Washington Saxophone Quartet]; and Sicilienne for viola and piano [private commission].

Jonathan D. Little


The atmospheric and evocative music of Jonathan David Little is notable for its mystical beauty, intensity, and richness of material. After initial studies at the University of Melbourne, where he won the Lady Turner Exhibition, he completed a Doctoral degree researching the development of 'exotic' orchestration in 19th and 20th-century music. Interviewed in the Sept-Oct 2012 issue of American Fanfare, Little's musical style was defined as 'ecstatic minimalism.' Italian and other European critics have preferred the more general terms 'antique futurism' or 'picturesque archaism.'

Helen MacKinnon


Scottish composer Helen MacKinnon studied music at The University of Glasgow, specializing in composition and graduating with a Bachelor of Music First Class Honours. Her most notable work of that period was Crossing the Domain, a setting of Scottish poet Edwin Morgan’s poem From the Domain of Arnheim for female voices and percussion. MacKinnon cites her compositional influences as being her Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, and cinematic music.

L Peter Deutsch


L Peter Deutsch is a native of Massachusetts, now living in Sonoma County CA, and British Columbia, Canada. He writes primarily for small instrumental or a capella vocal ensembles, spanning styles from devotional to romantic to jazzy, and from Renaissance to early 20th century. Works to date include four choral commissions; releases through PARMA Recordings include music for chorus, string quartet, woodwind and brass quintets, piano trio (featuring work with Trio Casals), and full orchestra.

Juli Nunlist


Juli Nunlist (1916 – 2006) received a B.A. in English Composition from Barnard College in 1940, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. In 1957, at the age of 40, she entered Manhattan School of Music as a composition major, and received her Bachelor’s degree in 1961 and her Master’s in 1964, studying with Vittorio Giannini, Ludmila Ulehla, and Nicholas Flagello. Her Spells is a choral setting of six poems by the English poet Kathleen Raine and was chosen for performance by the University of Kansas Concert Choir (Clayton Krehbiel conducting) at the Sixth Annual Symposium of Contemporary American Music, April 1964. In addition to Spells, her works include this string quartet, piano, choral, and chamber music, and a symphonic tone suite after Juan Ramon Jimenez’ prose poems, Platero and I.

Daniel Morse


Born in Honolulu HI, Daniel Morse was raised on every sort of music from Bob Marley to Beethoven and Paul Simon to Prokofiev. Combined with the pervasive multiculturalism of Hawaii, his background has given him a truly egalitarian outlook towards music, through which he sees that all styles and genres are somehow valid and worthwhile.

Peter Greve


Peter Greve (1931-2021) was born in The Hague (Netherlands). He received musical training in The Hague from Jean Antonietti and Léon Orthel (piano), Theo Laanen (trumpet), Dr. Marcus van Crevel (music theory), and later from Willem Frederik Bon (Amsterdam), Myers Foggin (United Kingdom) and Terence Lovett (United Kingdom), in orchestral conducting. During this time, he also studied at the State University of Leiden (Netherlands), where he obtained M.Sc. (1957) and Ph.D. (1959) degrees in chemistry.

Whitman Brown


Composer Whitman Brown has received awards and commissions from organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, the Yaddo and Millay artist colonies, the Bedford Springs and Stroud Festivals, and the Warebrook Festival of Contemporary Music. Ensembles such as the Arden, Everest, and Lydian String Quartets, Kalliope Trio, Arcadian Winds, Bala Brass, and the Master Singers have performed his compositions. He is currently Head of Theory and Composition at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and has taught at Brandeis University, Boston University, Longy School of Music, and the Powers School of Music.