on the CD "Al Nur"

I have been listening to Cipriani's works for five or six years and I thought I knew his music. I was completely wrong because after this new CD I can no longer recognize him. "Al Nur" is the revolution of a musical language. Why? Cipriani writes in the booklet "My latest works are a rewrite of pieces of oral traditions (more or less complex), including a trilogy on religious chant (Gregorian, Islamic, Jewish), a traditional Chinese piece, another Arabic, fragments of a piece of rock music composed without writing the music and other fragments from memory". What does it mean? The melodic and rhythmic structures absorbed into these compositions are not simply quotations put in only for the taste of something exotic, but they signify an alive element that flourishes step by step. We can sometimes listen to polyphony that doesn't belong to the old composition but to the new one. There is always great respect for the oral traditions; in fact the music of these civilizations has not been shattered, camouflaged and reduced to a loop for a schematic composition that nowadays we can easily hear everywhere. The melody, the rhythm, the single sound revive to create other melodies, rhythms and sounds. Cipriani puts a mosaic together and its tesserae are: time and space of music, the witchery of silence, spirituality, time/space seen through a soul. This is Cipriani's new ways to constitute his medium.

Giuseppe Rapisarda, Computer Music Journal Volume 26 Number 3 Fall 2002

Alessandro Cipriani uses cutting-edge technology to bring us closer to the music of a timeless oral tradition, including religious chant from the three Abrahamic traditions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Musically and conceptually, this is an extraordinary CD, with wonderful sounds and human warmth. And as a result of Cipriani's great sensitivity and gift for sound, the music becomes more a part of us, more a part of our contemporary language. And as the music sings to us, we feel more a part of the humanity it represents.

Joel Chadabe , Electronic Music Foundation site:

on the CD "Il Pensiero Magmatico"

"This primal magmatic thought trascends temporality. Within this time continuum, the musical phrases are enticing and evoke rich imagery. At the same time the plain, spoken voices bring things to earth and to the present (...) After the slow introductory music, the choral setting is delightful, creating mysterious sonorities of an eerie character (...) The guttural and fragmented vocal utterances create rich strata of vocal colors, well matched by the instrumental and recorded sound." (Alcides Lanza - Computer Music Journal)

Alcides Lanza, Computer Music Journal

On the video"Still Blue" at Bourges

The penultimate day of Synthèse 1999, in the ultimate year of the twentieth century, continued with more international open works being heard for an hour in the TJC, followed by two more art videos, then a demonstration of the music software laureates of the 1999 Bourges Competition. Indeed, time and the times were the afternoon's essence. Counting consumed the first art video of the afternoon, Gilles Charalambos's 00:05:23:27, a light/dark, always-changing, rhythmic scene, amusing, sad, and always counting time. Still Blue, by Alessandro Cipriani (Italy), followed. Beautiful vocal sounds, underpinned with a constant undertone, evolved into a simple melody, and our eyes began to see forms of sea life in the hazy blue, underwater scene. Now, a man's body is seen floating-gone. A voice grieves "the death of David". A beautiful memorial.

Larry Austin, Computer Music Journal

On the textbook "Virtual Sound"

Bianchini and Cipriani provide a thorough grounding in the basics and do an admirable job of explaining Csound's potential beyond note-by-note generation. The text describes how to build orchestras that can serve as rich compositional resources, even to the point of generating multiple musical ideas.

It's clear from the presentation, flow of materials, and general tone of Virtual Sound that the authors are experienced composers of electroacoustic music as well as effective teachers. The pervading attitude in the book is that computer-generated music is expressive and evocative... I felt as I read that I was in the hands of master teachers whose love of their subject and musicianship comes across on every page.
Overall EM Rating (1 through 5): 4

Thomas Wells
Electronic Musician, Sep. 2001


It's a good time to learn Csound. With the publication in the last couple of years of The Csound Book, the Csound Catalog with Audio, and Virtual Sound, there are more resources available than ever to aid in learning this powerful, arcane, and free synthesis software. Virtual Sound sets itself apart from the other materials by its measured, explicitly pedagogical approach clearly aimed at the beginning to intermediate Csound user. Virtual Sound appeared in 1998 in Italian as Il Suono Virtuale, and the translation by Agostino Di Scipio seems quite good with only a few awkward turns of phrase that are nevertheless perfectly understandable.

Overview of text

Virtual Sound is organized clearly by synthesis/processing topic with a careful one-by-one introduction of Csound features and opcodes. In addition, there are appendices covering a Csound shell programmed by one of the authors (Riccardo Bianchini) and Mathematics and Trigonometry, and a section of "Readings" covering specialized uses of Csound. An additional feature of the text is a section called "Extensions" that follows each chapter giving the more experienced user a deeper look at that chapterÕs topic that could easily be skipped by the novice. Although these sections are uneven in their depth of content, they give the book an added life after the first reading. Given the step-by-step approach, Virtual Sound could have been quite limited without these extensions. Even so, I would like to see greater depth there to make the book stand on its own as a general introduction to software synthesis as well as a primer on Csound. As it is, there is not enough depth of coverage for most of the topics to make this book a self-contained introduction to computer music, and it is necessary in many instances to refer to a text like Computer Music by Charles Dodge and Thomas Jerse or Curtis RoadsÕ The Computer Music Tutorial for a decent understanding of a given topic.

Evaluation and Conclusion

The conceptual design of Virtual Sound is excellent: a topic-by-topic introduction to software synthesis through Csound with features such as "Extensions" and "Readings" to provide the depth of coverage necessary for continued reference by intermediate Csound users. However, the realization of this design is uneven. Virtual Sound is a decent and useful book, but it could have been a great book providing an inspiring introduction to this powerful language and medium. Virtual Sound's primary attributes are its step-by-step pedagogically oriented approach and a great deal of complete Csound code. ....

I would still recommend Virtual Sound to those interested in creating computer music that is not bound by the restrictions of commercial software, but I would also have to recommend a more complete computer music text to mitigate some of its weaknesses.

Daniel Hosken, Computer Music Journal, Volume 26 Number 1 Spring 2002

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Sul CD "Al Nur"

Quest' ultimo lavoro rappresenta una vera svolta nella produzione di Alessandro CiprianI (...) La Luce ("Al Nur") illumina questo disco dal fascino ammaliante, solare. Dal brano iniziale "Jasminb", con la splendida voce del marocchino Nour-Eddine Fatty, alle melodie cinesi di "Into the Light". Ma è proprio nella "Trilogia" dedicata al canto religioso che Cipriani ci stupisce e ci regala momenti di rara intensità espressiva: quasi 40 minuti divisi tra canto islamico ("Al Nur", ancora con la voce di Fatty), canto gregoriano ("Aqua sapientiae/Angelus Domini") e canto ebraico ("Mimaa' makim").
Assai azzeccati gli arrangiamenti e la strumentazione, rigorosamente tradizionale, accostata a rielaborazioni elettroniche molto personali e mai forzate, che anzi si amalgamano perfettamente con la fonte musicale originale. Affascinante è aggettivo che rende a malapena l'emozione che si prova ascoltando, e lasciandosi andare, la musica proposta. Veramente un disco da ascoltare, con mente libera e aperta.

Maurizio Petitti Musikbox (nuova serie) n.2 mar/apr 2001


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