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The phrase “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is often invoked to justify beating children. At the risk of sounding preachy myself, I believe that the rod must be spared, period – or as the title of my piece for NOW Ensemble has it – exclamation point(!)
My inspiration came from a series of music boxes created by artist Yuliya Lanina, for which I wrote music. These mechanical sculptures present scenes from classic fairy tales that hide a dark underbelly of violence and abuse behind their innocuous façade. Playing them feels so intimate – starting up, watching the figures’ swaying dance, feeling the vibrations of the plucked metal pins as they form a melody, then everything slows to a halt, stuttering.
Two of the boxes serve as a backbone to the piece, which tracks a day in the life of a child, as she “rises”, “plays”, “dreams”. Life as she must live it, filled with curiosity and carefree wonder. Life spared from various rods, real or symbolic, that only serve to perpetuate the senseless cycle of oppression. (YS)
released December 12, 2019
Composer: Yevgeniy Sharlat
Performers - NOW Ensemble:
Alex Sopp (flutes, kazoo)
Alicia Lee (clarinet, recorder)
Mark Dancigers (electric guitar, recorder, kazoo, music boxes)
Logan Coale (bass, recorder, kazoo)
Michael Mizrahi (piano, recorder)
Producer: Yevgeniy Sharlat
Producer and Engineer: Jesse Lewis
Assistant Engineers: Andy Stoltz and Spencer Phinney
Editing, Mixing: Jesse Lewis
Mastering Engineers: Jesse Lewis and Kyle Pyke
An Immersive Music Project
Recorded at Jessen Auditorium, Butler School of Music, University of Texas, Austin, Texas on October 15, 2017
Music boxes by: Yuliya Lanina, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Theodore Johnson
Cover Art: Yuliya Lanina
All works recorded with permission of the composers, who reserve all rights, along with their publishers.
NOW ENSEMBLE is a dynamic group of performers and composers dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. With
a unique instrumentation of flute, clarinet, electric guitar, double bass, and piano, the ensemble brings a fresh sound and a new perspective to the classical tradition.
supported by 158 fans who also own “Spare the Rod!”
This gigantic work really deserves the attribute "masterpiece". It's a joint effort of three extraordinarily creative women: Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, lyricist Ellen McLaughlin, and vocalist Shara Nova (named Shara Worden then) of "My Brightest Diamond", whose voice is clearly distinguishable out of a million. Ellen McLaughlin's amazing concept is put to life by Sarah Kirkland Snider's incredible music scenery. In her own special way, she blends demanding dissonant textures with sublime melodic lines, resulting in timeless chamber music that leaves me open-mouthed. Sven B. Schreiber