If Your System was a Symphony it Might Sound Like This...

I am in no way a music expert, but when I listen to Symphony No. 4 by Charles Ives, I imagine it's what a complex software/hardware system might sound like if we could hear its inner workings. Ives uses a lot of riotously competing rhythms in this work. It can sound discordant, yet the effect is deeply layered and eventually harmonious, just like the systems we use, create, and become part of.

I was pointed to this piece by someone who said there were two conductors. I'd never heard of such a thing! So I was intrigued. The first version of the performance sounds and looks great, but it unfortunately does not use two conductors. The second version uses two conductors, but is unfortunately just a snippet.

It's strikingly odd to see two conductors, but I imagine different parts of our systems using different conductors too, running at different rhythms, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes there are outbursts, sometimes in vicious conflict. Yet conceptually it all stills seems to hang together.

Charles Ives Symphony No. 4, BBC Symphony Orchestra/David Robertson, cond./Ralph van Raat, piano:

Stokowski and Serebrier Conduct Charles Ives Symphony No.4: