Self-fulfilling prophecies

It has always struck me that Karl Marx’s prediction that capitalism would be eclipsed by socialism and then by communism was a self-denying prophecy: because he made this prediction, and because of the widespread popularity of his (and other socialists’) ideas, politicians and businessmen were moved to act in ways which allowed capitalism to adapt, rather than to die. It seems that the end of communism may have been partly due to similar reflective-system effects.
In her book, Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, Anna Funder writes the following about the opposition to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in the former German Democratic Republic (the DDR):

I once saw a note on a Stasi file from early 1989 that I would never forget. In it a young lieutenant alerted his superiors to the fact that there were so many informers in church opposition groups at demonstrations that they were making these groups appear stronger than they really were. In one of the most beautiful ironies I have ever seen, he dutifully noted that it appeared that, by having swelled the ranks of the opposition, the Stasi was giving the people heart to keep demonstrating against them. (pp. 197-198)

NOTE:  A comment about the processes which led to the end of communism in the USSR is contained in this post.
Anna Funder [2003]: Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall. (London, UK: Granta Books).

When are agent models or systems appropriate?

In July 2005, inspired by a talk on formation flying by unmanned aircraft by Sandor Veres at the Liverpool Agents in Space Symposium, I wrote down some rules of thumb I have been using informally for determining whether an agent-based modeling (ABM) approach is appropriate for a particular application domain.  Appropriateness is assessed by answering the following questions:

1. Are there multiple entities in the domain, or can the domain be represented as if there are?
2. Do the entities have access to potentially different information sources or do they have potentially different beliefs? For example, differences may be due to geographic, temporal, legal, resource or conceptual constraints on the information available to the entities.
3. Do the entities have potentially different goals or objectives? This will typically be the case if the entities are owned or instructed by different people or organizations.
4. Do the entities have potentially different preferences (or utilities) over their goals or objectives ?
5. Are the relationships between the entities likely to change over time?
6. Does a system representing the domain have multiple threads of control?

If the answers are YES to Question 1 and also YES to any other question, then an agent-based approach is appropriate. If the answer to Question 1 is NO, or if the answers are YES to Question 1 but NO to all other questions, then a traditional object-based approach is more appropriate.
Traditional object-oriented systems involve static relationships between non-autonomous entities sharing the same beliefs, preferences and goals, and in a system with a single thread of control.


As with violinists I have heard live, I thought it interesting to list the pianists I have heard perform (modulo the vagaries of memory):

  • Caroline Almonte – Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in Eb K365 (MSO, Melbourne 2009)
  • Louis-Victor Bak – (London 2023, recitals at St Mary-Le-Strand and at Steinway Hall)
  • Ksenia Bashmet – Bach’s D Minor Keyboard Concerto (BWV 1052) (Moscow Soloists Chamber Ensemble, London 2011)
  • Alessio Bax (RLPO, Liverpool. Grieg PC with Southbank Sinfonia, London, March 2024)
  • Alasdair Beatson  – Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and Strings in D Minor (London 2011)
  • Richard Rodney Bennett (Canberra 1976, solo recital of show tunes and jazz standards)
  • Mikhail Bouzine, in a happening at Steinway Hall, London, 13 March 2024, on the theme of love.
  • Giulia Contaldo – Respighi, Wagner/Liszt and Debussy (recital at Famington Farm, 28 January 2024)
  • Imogen Cooper – Bach and Schubert (recital at Famington Farm, 28 January 2024)
  • Emmanuel Despax – Bach/Busoni’s Chaconne and Chopin’s 24 Preludes (solo recital at St John’s Church Waterloo, London, 26 November 2023)
  • Aleksandr Doronin – Ligeti’s Etudes #10 (Der Zauberlehrling) and #13 (L’escalier du diable) (London 2023, Drake Calleja Trust Scholars Concert, 4 November 2023)
  • François Dumont (Brussels 2018)
  • Kathryn Eves – Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto (Cheshire Sinfonia, Manchester 2008)
  • Jonathan Ferrucci playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations at King’s Place, London, 11 March 2024.
  • Juan Perez Floristan – in a solo recital at Wigmore Hall, London, 11 April 2024.
  • Nelson Freire – Mozart’s Piano Concerto #20 in D minor and Villa Lobos’ Momoprecoce, Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (Boston Symphony Orchestra under Marcelo Lehninger at Tanglewood, 2012)
  • Alexander Gadjiev – Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 Opus 21 in F minor (Orchestre Appassionato under Mathieu Herzog, Paris, 2022)
  • Filippo Gorini – Bach’s The Art of Fugue (Wigmore Hall, London, 23 July 2023)
  • Angela Hewitt – The 48: A truly awesome feat of memory and physical performance, with superb touch and an integrity of interpretation. I don’t think rubato and the North German Baroque belong together but, so not an interpretation to my taste. (Manchester)
  • Rolf Hind (Birmingham, Liverpool, London 2013).  Hind’s masterful performance of John Coolidge Adams’ sublime Phrygian Gates in Liverpool was entrancing and unforgettable, and helped change my mind about minimalism.   I heard him play this again in London in 2013 – again sublime.
  • Stephen Hough (RLPO Liverpool; Manchester)
  • Lucas Jussen and Arthur Jussen – Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (Wigmore Hall, London, 2023; Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 2023)
  • Elisabeth Klein (1911-2003) – selection of Ligeti’s Etudes (Music Department, University of Liverpool, November 2002). I heard Ms Klein, a student of Bela Bartok, in a recital at the age of 91, playing several of Ligeti’s etudes to an audience of about ten people. She became a public performer of modern piano music only in her sixth decade.
  • Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy, 4-hands 1-piano recital, Wigmore Hall, London, 14 March 2024.
  • Pekka Kuusisto (Britten Sinfonia, London, 2012, playing piano part of Stravinsky’s Suites 1 & 2 for Small Orchestra)
  • Ariel Lanyi in a recital at the Wigmore Hall, London, 27 December 2023.
  • John Lill (RLPO, Liverpool)
  • Jan Lisiecki – a solo recital of Preludes, including Chopin’s Op 28 (West Road Concert Hall, Department of Music, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, on 26 February 2024)
  • Yvonne Loriod – Messiaen’s From the Canyon to the Stars (Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Opera House, 1988).
  • Joanna MacGregor – Bach’s D Minor Concerto BWV 1052 (Manchester)
  • Stephen McIntyre – Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in Eb K365 (MSO, Melbourne 2009)
  • Brad Mehldau (Manchester)
  • Kasparas Mikužis (London 2023, accompanist in Drake Calleja Trust Scholars Concert, 4 November 2023. Sittingbourne, recital, 11 November 2023, recitals in Faversham, London and Famington Farm 2024, Rachmaninov PC2 London 9 February 2024)
  • Olli Mustonen – Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto #1 (BBC SO, with Sergei Nakariakov, London 2013)
  • Matan Porat in a recital programme of mostly Bach transcriptions at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London, Friday February 2024.
  • Roberto Prosseda – UK premiere of Mendelssohn’s 3rd Piano Concerto in E minor (ca. 1840-42, unpublished, completed by Marcello Bufalini) (RLPO, Liverpool)
  • Lauma Skride – Mozart and Mendelssohn Violin Sonatas (London 2011)
  • Gabriele Sutkute – in a solo recital at St-Mary-Le-Strand, London, 23 November 2023.
  • Cedric Tiberghien (RLPO, Liverpool; recitals, London; Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, with Orchestre National de France under Aziz Shokhakimov, Paris 2022)
  • Simon Trpceski (RLPO, Liverpool).
  • Samson Tsoy and Pavel Kolesnikov, 4-hands 1-piano recital, Wigmore Hall, London, 14 March 2024.