John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles pleased most critics when it opened at the Metropolitan Opera at the end of 1991. I wasn't among them; in a review for the New Republic I described the opera as "nowhere music," a miscellaneous pastiche of Romantic and modernist styles. I recently listened again to a recording of the work and liked it a great deal more. Even if the composer's voice remains at times elusive, the craftsmanship and vitality of the writing make a powerful impression. St. Louis audiences may judge for themselves when a new, streamlined version of Ghosts opens at the Opera Theater of St. Louis on June 17.... Noise reader John Branch reminds me that the helpful folks at Carnegie Hall have been uploading streaming audio of their recent new-music commissions. You can hear the two most recent Pulitzer Prize winners, Steve Reich's Double Sextet and David Lang's The Little Match Girl Passion, together with John Adams's Son of Chamber Symphony, David Bruce's Gumboots, Matthias Pintscher's Osiris, and Anna Clyne's Blush, among others. In many cases MP3 downloads are available.... The gifted young composer Andrew Norman, soon to be in residence at the American Academy in Berlin, has unveiled a richly stocked website of his work. Worth a listen is his vibrant orchestral piece Unstuck. I also recommend checking up on the recent activities of Timothy Andres, whom I wrote about briefly in The New Yorker five years ago. His hour-long two-piano piece Shy and Mighty is a major achievement for a still very young composer. Paula Matthusen, whom I also mentioned in that 2004 piece, has a concert on Saturday night at Roulette.... The International Contemporary Ensemble, aka ICE, has been devoting a good part of its seemingly limitless energies to the late, great Iannis Xenakis; last weekend it put on a Xenakis concert in Chicago, selling out the house and drawing a rave from Bryant Manning in the new Chicago Classical Review. ICE has also set up a Xenakis blog, which features a lively interview with Françoise Xenakis, the composer's widow.... The Baltimore series Mobtown Modern is seeking participants for a July performance of Mauricio Kagel's Eine Brise, for 111 bicyclists.... Envying London: Lulu is playing at Covent Garden, and Kaija Saariaho's awesomely beautiful L'Amour de loin opens at English National Opera on July 3.
Photo: Les Amis de Xenakis.
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