Motor Vehicle Sundown

Courtesy Archiv Sohm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
© VBK, Vienna 2009

Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event) was conceived as an outdoor evening concert in which motorized vehicles serve as instruments. The score gives timed instructions for the orchestrated use of horns and headlights, the opening and closing of doors and trunks and the occasional switching-on of windshield wipers and car radios, as well as for moments of silence, which are indicated by the word Pause. Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event), dedicated to John Cage, is the first score that Brecht expressly called an event. Brecht had attended Cage’s class at the New School for Social Research in New York beginning in 1958, and it was there that he created his first scores. Following Cage, these early works in particular explicitly focus on shifting the characteristics of music into the realm of the visual. The specific idea for Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event) came to Brecht while he was waiting for his wife in the woods of New Jersey and discovered the blinking indicator and running motor as elements of his experimental composition.