Taylor BROOK


MotorMan, 2009

“The title of this work, MOTORMAN, refers to the novel by American writer David Ohle. First published in 1972, Motorman describes the capture and escape of a man named Moldenke from an enigmatic bête noir by the name of Bunce, taking place in Ohle’s post-apocalyptic vision of the United States of America.

This piece of music constitutes an overture to an imagined musical theatre piece based on the novel. In this overture I depict certain themes, scenes and characters from the novel, such as the bizarre phone calls between Moldenke and Bunce. These intense phone calls between the prisoner, Moldenke, and his keeper, Bunce, are reinvented as antiphonal playing between the woodwind quintet and the brass quintet. Indeed, all of the music corresponds in some way to elements in the novel.

In Ohle’s post-apocalyptic vision of society, the everyday habits and practices of the people have developed in strange and often grotesque ways. Yet these practices retain many of the fundamental aspects of our culture today, particularly in the United States, where the novel takes place. In order to express this central theme in the music, I chose to make a collage of clichéd musical ideas, which either quote or allude to great figures in American music, such as Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin. I have combined these clichés in unsettling ways or have given them certain characteristics that just aren’t quite right. By doing this, I hope to put a veneer of grotesque humour on the “everyday” and make music that is at once familiar and strange.

Very special thanks to David Ohle for allowing me to use his title for this composition.”

—Taylor Brook