Galatina Records

Associazione Culturale Laboratorio Novamusica

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Alphabet Music

Preis / Price : 15.60 €
Bestell-Nr. / Purchase Order No. : Galatina Records CD 0401      Warenkorb


Music by Giovanni Mancuso

Raiz: voice
Pietro Tonolo: tenor, soprano and sopranino saxophones
Luca Mosca: upright prepared piano
Ensemble Laboratorio Novamusica
conducted by Giovanni Mancuso
Cecilia Vendrasco: flutes
Piergabriele Mancuso: viola
Carlo Carratelli: piano
Andrea Carlon: double bass
Giovanni Mancuso: theremin and accessories


Project and music research of Giovanni Mancuso & Piergabriele Mancuso

The development of “Alphabet Music” was made possible by a grant from the European Association for Jewish Culture European Association for Jewish Culture – Grant Awards 2003



1 Alphabet Music (2003) 14:24

for flute, saxes, viola, piano, upright prepared piano, double bass, theremin and accessories

2 Aleph Beth Gymel (1997) 7:52

for solo sopranino sax

Un der rebe lernt kleyne kinderlekh dem Alef-Beyz…II (2003) Five songs for voice and ensemble

Askinu S'udoso (Atkinu Se'udata) 2:17

On a tune by R.Dov ber of Mezeritsh (dead in 1772)

Words of Yitshaq Luria (from Zohar) c.1550

Shuvi Nafshi 6:09

Based on a version recorded by kazan Leibele Waldman in 1947

Words taken from Psalm 116, 7-11

Azamer Bi-shevachin 3:41

Based on a song of R.Abraham the Angel (dead in 1776)

Lyrics by Yishaq Luria c.1550

Oyfn Propetshik 4:57

Based on a song of Mark M.Warshawsky (1840-1907)

Yiru Eneinu 2.58

Based on a song by Sholom seconda recorded by kazan Richard Tucker in 1947

The project Alphabet Music was awarded by European Association for Jewish Culture – Grant Awards 2003 

In collaboration with Teatrino Groggia - Venice

Tracks 1-3-4-5-6-7: live recordings, Teatrino Groggia - Venice 2 November 2003
Track 2 live recording, Novart Festival - Bordeaux 19 November 2003
Recording, sound editing and mastering: Riccardo Farnea

Alphabet music

This composition is the result of the reading and study of Sefer Yetzirah, one of the oldest and most important texts of Jewish mysticism.

The mystical vision of the Hebrew alphabet has been the main source of investigation: the combinatory and mathematical rules that Sefer Yetzirah uses to combine and mix the letters have been the fil rouge which structured the entire project.

From the mathematical proportions, through the compelling gematriah , medium and link between mysticism and music, gradually derived sounds, timings, forms and structures upon which Alphabet Music translated into music those relations so vividly and at the same time so synthetically described by Sefer Yetzirah.

Alphabet Music is followed by other two compositions: Aleph-Beth-Gymel , for solo sopranino sax, in which the dry and sour sound of the instrument gives shape to a kind of music investigation on the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet, following the example of the kabbalistic speculations, which took inspiration form the very form of the letters.

Un der rebe lernt kleyne kinderlekh dem Aleph-Beyz…II is a short cycle of five songs stemming form different traditions: from the poetical texts of great masters of the Kabbalah such as Yizhaq Luria and his disciples, from the tradition of the synagogue cantors of the end of the 19 th century, to the yiddish melody of Oyfn Pripetshik in which a rabbi teaches the rudiments of the Hebrew alphabet to his young students.

The performances will be introduced by Mr. Gabriele Mancuso who will shortly outline the history and main characteristics of the text of Sefer Yetzirah and of the Alphabet Music project.

Three extraordinary soloists will join Laboratorio Novamusica: Raiz, Pietro Tonolo and Luca Mosca.

Aim of the project is to combine art performance and esthetical sensibility to important texts of the Jewish tradition. Alphabet Music does not want to connect music and literature simply juxtaposing an original music composition with an authoritative kabbalistic text as Sefer Yetzirah but to give shape and substance to something which is aesthetically contemporary but structured and on the old, such as the intimate structures of the Hebrew alphabet springing from S efer Yetzirah

The project Alphabet music is dedicated to my parents.



Raiz spent most of his artistic life as a leader singer and composer of Almamegretta band with which he recorded six albums. He also worked together with music ensembles and solo artists such as Massive Attack, Leftfield, Asian Dub Foundation, Orchestral World Groove, Bill Laswell, Eraldo Bernocchi and Pino Daniele. He recently has been music supervisor, leader singer and actor in “Brecht's Dance”, the new musical produced by Koreja theatre company in Lecce. He composed with Paolo Polcari and Luca Gatti, also members of Almamegretta ensemble, the soundtrack of Antonio Capuano's movie “Luna Rossa”, and took part in Gianluca Sòdaro's opera prima movie “Cuore Scatenato” as an actor and soundtrack producer. Forthcoming his new Solo CD produced with Paolo Polcari.

Pietro Tonolo was born in Mirano (Venice) in 1959. He started playing Jazz around 1979, giving up an embarked and fruitful career of violin player. He then moved to Milan where he played with some of the most important Italian Jazz players such as Franco D'Andrea, Luigi Bonafede, Gianni Cazzola, Larry Nocella, Massimo Urbani. Between 1981 and 1986 he has been part of Enrico Rava's ensemble. In the summer of the year 1982 he played in the “Gil Evans Orchestra” with Steve Lacy, Lew Soloff and Ray Anderson with which he performed at the “Sweet Basil” of New York in 1984 and 1985 and at “Umbria Jazz” Festival in 1987.

Since 1983 he regularly has performed both as group leader and sideman in Jazz clubs and concerts, he took part in TV and Radio programmes broadcast in Europe and in the USA.

Highly appreciated by critics and warmly welcomed by national and international audience were the performances Tonolo made in the duo with pianist Rita Marcotulli and in trio and quartet with Enzi Pietropaoli and Roberto Gatto, with whom Tonolo established an everlasting music and human fellowship.

Among the many world-wide known players Tonolo played with worth mentioning are Kenny Clarke, Roswell Rudd, Sal Nistico, Chet Baker (with whom Tonolo played in New York in 1985) Lee Konitz, John Surman, George Lewis, Barry Altschul, Joe Chambers, Aldo Romano, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, Tony Oxley, Steve Swallow, Miroslav Vitous, Paul Motian (whose “Electric Bebop Band” Tonolo is part of).

Since 1988 Tonolo plays with Henri Texier - with whom he played in France, Italy, Mexico, Cuba, Egypt and Syria – with Enrico Pieranunzi, Giovanni Tommaso, conducts his own ensembles, plays and composes for “Ketorchestra” big band and Saxophone quartet “Arundo Donax”.

He plays in the most important Italian and international music festivals such as “Jazz Festival” in Berlin, “Jazz Jamboree” in Warsaw, Grand Parade du Jazz” in Nice, and other festivals in Paris , Vienna, Amiens, North Carolina, Hamburg, Leverkusen, Ankara, Smirn, Tel Aviv, Dublin and Montreal.

Luca Mosca studied music and graduated in piano and harpsichord at Milan music academy under the guide of Eli Perrotta, Antonio Ballista and Marnina Mauriello. He also obtained a degree in composition with Franco Donatoni and Salvatore Sciarrino.

His compositions have been played and broadcast for Radio France, Beaubourg in Paris, Festivals of Strasbourg, in Lion, Avignone, Warsaw, WDR in Cologne, Auditorium Nacional de Madrid, Festival Wien Modern, for many chamber music festivals in London, Manchester, Rotterdam, Biennale di Venezia, Bologna Festival, Musica nel Nostro Tempo, Milano Musica, Stagione Sinfonica del Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Piccola Scala di Milano, Orchestra Regionale Toscana, etc…

Beside his own compositions, the repertoire of his solo performances consists mainly of post-war and contemporary music literature. He recorded for CGD all the Debussy's Etudes , Chopin, Listz, Scriabin and Gershwin.

Among his compositions, worth mentioning are the operas Il sogno di Titania, Peter Schlemihl, America e K. , the Four Concerts for Piano and Orchestra, the Quindici divertimenti for oboe and orchestra, Tredici fantasie for violin and orchestra, Cinque racconti orientali for oboe, violin and strings, Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola and strings, Nove piccoli pezzi for thirteen instruments, Trenta novellette for soprano, pianoforte and orchestra, two Quintetti , nine Trii , and a vast production for piano solo.
He lives and teaches in Venice. His compositions are published by Suvini Zerboni in Milan.


Piergabriele Mancuso was born in Venice in 1975. In 1999 graduated at Venice University in Oriental Languages and in 2001 obtained the music diploma of viola at Music Academy “N. Buzzola” in Adria. In 2001 he published an anthology of Hebrew texts concerning music entitled “I canti di Salomone” (The Songs of Salomon) and the text and commentary of one of the oldest Hebrew mystical text: “Sefer Yetzirah – Il Libro della Formazione con il commentario di Shabbatai Donnolo” (Sefer Yetzirah – The Book of the Formation and the Commentary of Shabbatai Donnolo).

He is PhD Candidate at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies of University College London and Visiting Research Student at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.


Giovanni Mancuso was born in Venice in 1970. He studied music at the Music Academy “B. Marcello” in Venice and graduated with first honour degree in piano in 1992 under the guide of Wally Rizzardo. He also graduated with first honour degree in chamber music at the Imola Music Academy and studied composition and orchestra conducting at the Scuola Civica di Milano under the guide of Renato Rivolta. He specialised in jazz style and language under the guide of trombonist Umberto de Nigris. He also obtained further degrees in music composition at the Corsi Internazionali di Composizione di Città di Castello (1990 and 1991) and at the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna (1991/92) under the guide of Salvatore Sciarrino.

He was commissioned by some important private and national institutions such as Istituzione Sinfonica Abruzzese, Gran Teatro La Fenice of Venice, Biennale Musica - Biennale Danza and European Association for Jewish Culture.

In 2004 he was awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation, New York.

He recorded for RAI (Italy); Norwegian Broadcasting Company, Oslo and Radio Nacional de Espana , Madrid.

In 1991 he founded the music ensemble and study group “Laboratorio Novamusica” whose he is conductor and piano player. As a solo pianist and conductor he performed also with other ensembles in Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Lebanon and Norway.

He played and conducted first performances of compositions of David Lesser, Betty Olivero, Fabio Nieder, Paolo Furlani, Olga Neuwirth, Luca Mosca, Stefano Bellon, Matteo D'Amico, Mauro Cardi, Renato Rivolta, etc.

He lives in Venice and teaches at the Music Academy of Palermo.


Laboratorio Novamusica was founded in 1991 by some students of Music Academy “B. Marcello” of Venice. Aim of the founders was to create a music ensemble to performe contemporary music but also to establish a group of scholars and players to stimulate and at the same time investigate the tendencies of contemporary music.

Laboratorio Novamusica took part to festivals and international music happenings such as “Sonopolis” ,“Biennale dei Giovani Artisti dell'Europa Mediterranea” (Lisbon, 1994); “Intempo” (Venice, 1996); “Replay” (Gran Teatro La Fenice – Venice, 1997); Istituto di Cultura in Libano (Concerts in Beirut and Baalbek, 1999), “L'Altra Scena” (Venice, 1999), Biennale dei Giovani Artisti dell'Europa e del Mediterraneo (Rome, 1999), Piccolo Teatro (Milan, 2000), Festival Risonanze (Venice, 2002), Biennale Musica (Venice, 2000), Festival di musica contemporanea di Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain, 2001), Biennale Danza (Venice, 2001), Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Madrid, 2002), CDMC (Madrid, 2002). Laboratorio Novamusica recorded for RAI (Italy) and Radio Nacional de Espana , (Spain).

Laboratorio Novamusica collaborated also with Pietro Tonolo, Gavin Bryars, Paolo Angeli, Pietro Borgonovo and Renato Rivolta.

Since 2001 the ensemble is resident group of Groggia Theatre in Venice.

In 2002 Laboratorio Novamusica founded Galatina Records and released Musica Compressa , its first CD.


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