The references to the Philadelphia Orchestra might mislead the unwary reader
into thinking this was the reconstruction of Tchaikovsky's
Symphony in E♭
produced in the 1950s by Semyon Bogatyrev, which was championed by Eugene
Ormandy with that ensemble. However, reading on, the article describes a completely
different piece "composed" by a computer, in an attempt to emulate what Tchaikovsky
might have done after the Pathétique.
A quick Google
search shows that the only references to the names of the supposed software,
author and conductor come from the same source, so it's highly unlikely that
we're actually missing out on "this marvelous work of art that is likely to
become a staple of the symphonic repertoire for many generations" (sic).
As long as we are verging on the world of fantasy i have a better idea.
Why dont we disinterre tchaikovsky's body and collect some dna to create a
whole plethora of tchaikovskys that would be genetically engineered so that
we could have at our disposal the composer to do any number of commissioned
works. such as a new work for christmas each year to replace the perennial
but overheard nutcracker, new symphonies, concerti, operas, ballets or what
you wish. we could do likewise with any other favorites you like. something
like the jurassic park for composers. is this at all feaseable? has anyone
thought about bringing back the deceased in this way? I am not joking. as
far as computer engineered music i would have to hear it to believe it. I
think this might be a wave of the future. who knows what marvels science will
Albert, as you wrote you are not joking I am strongly against such activities.
Why we should do such things? The magnitude of Tchaikovsky's legacy is also
in its historical aspects. I don't think that the future will ever be able
to create "new" Tchaikovsky. Maybe it is possible to create the body, but
the transcendental element of music will be still missing. The element Tchaikovsky
was also aware, the source of inspiration... that impenetrable mystery.
I cannot imagine what purpose would be served by cloning Tchaikovsky, Mozart,
or any other famous composer. Although the product of such an experiment would
bear an eerie physical resemblance to the original, it would possess none
of the ideas, memories, personality traits, or musical aptitudes of the real
thing. Such nonsense belongs to the world of Frank Herbert's Dune or Alien: Resurrection (I hated that movie...), not reality. The source
of musical genius is in the content of a man's mind (which in itself is a
product of his environment, life experiences and choices), not in his DNA.
If the idea of a genetically-engineered composer is bad science fiction,
then the notion of a computer-generated Tchaikovsky symphony is a transparent
fraud. I confess that I find the suggestion distasteful. A machine cannot
produce an original and worthwhile piece of art, regardless of how advanced
it is or how much information is programmed into it. All artistic creation
is a product of an individual (and infinitely complex) human intelligence.
Therefore, a "computer-generated Tchaikovsky symphony" is a contradiction
Let us be grateful for the formidable body of work which Tchaikovsky has
left us (much of which, like his operas and suites, remains unknown to the
general public), rather than fantasizing about how we may cheat reality into
giving us more of a good thing.
Richard Gary Epstein is a member of the Department of Computer Science,
West Chester University of PA. He was teaching "Introduction to Security (&
Ethics)" during sping 2007. If I'm right, he is the author of the story about
Tchaikovsky's Seventh Symphony (see the name beside the copyright!). With
this story and others, he's aiming (and I quote, see his website http: //www.cs.wcupa.edu/epstein/stoplay.html)
"[to] explore the social implications of [Artificial Intelligence] and
So it seems that it's an entirely made-up story! And that's why we never
heard of "conductor Henrietta Quelles", "musicologist Peter Michovsky, a Russian-born
composer, Computer Technologist and music scholar" as well of the computer-generated
As I suspected then, merely a spoof. However I frequently have dreams in
which I hear for the first time newly discoved Tchaikovsky works or revisions
of old works. I once heard in my imagination a completely reworked 5th Symphony
although Ive got to say that the revision was a big mistake and not a match
on the orginal. In my dream the pastoral pipes of the first movement completely
take over and eventually repeat ad nauseam with ever increasing intensity
until it becomes unbearable.