The first interest of the composer was, from the beginning, research in new instrumental colors to find new sounds for a modern orchestra,
choosing three directions:
– micro interval division, not only using quarter-tones but having the goal that in an octave interval there are a world of thousands of pitches;
– the use of alternative playing of the instruments, effects, multiphonics, harmonics, percussive sounds in melodic instruments;
– according to new sounds with tradition.
The orchestral piece “Fluttuazioni Quantistiche” is an example of Valentini’s aesthetics. In the link below you can listen to the premiere recording, 21st April 2011, Illinois State University Orchestra, Maurizio Colasanti
“Fluttuazioni Quantistiche” (Quantum Fluctuations) is a piece inspired by quantum’s micro-world, the basis of our physical world. I imagined some kind of soundtrack, sounds intrinsic to the matter, which has laws different from the real world. In its first part, there is a rarefaction of time, this is an introduction where you can see neither the time nor the speed. In reality, everything is constantly in “4/4” and “100 to a quarter”.
There is also a different dimension of space given by notes that appear and disappear, like particles; these are played by orchestral instruments that come from far apart, together with large resonances produced by vibraphone and harp with unusual tunings . In the first image below you can watch the rarefactive beginning (only winds and brasses)
The vibraphone, during the whole piece, produces also very large clusters with wooden bands placed over the keys.
Harp with unusual tunings:
Pursuing, small flows of energy comes and a great little episode: particles that, as children, play and have fun with glissandos of harmonics on strings:
After constant flows of energy arrive, produced by bands that sound starting from ppp till ff. These are orchestral sections that intersect each other. At the end of this episode are fluctuations themselves, particles floating in space musically rendered by triplets of the harp and “glissandos” in the muted strings. This element gives off very strong energy that puts in motion heavy machinery of the most serious and strong instruments which after settles into a “mobile sound” (a tenuto
and unstable sound due to the micro-tonality) that leads to a “tutti” of the orchestra through an episode of brass-percussion.
An example of a mobile sound:
Brasses play, each with a different rhythm to simulate chaos, hitting the mouthpiece with the palm of the hand.
Structure of the percussed brasses:
The ordered chaos of particles expresses a great uncontrollable force due to strings that play legato with pure wood and a whirling piece of woods like a birdcage gone wild which gives off particles that ends with strong percussion hit, after which there is .. . silence for eight beats.
Finally, the piece becomes more rarefied to return to the entropy of the initial state and ends with a resonance of a high note
from the vibraphone that is lost in space.
Another important piece of Valentini aesthetics is “Rarefazioni di Luce” (Rarefaction of lights) for string orchestra.
In this score, the composer tried to give dramatic expression to the listeners using a lot of modern techniques for strings, mostly using harmonics, natural and artificial. The music is inspired by the idea of watching the first lights of the day during the dawn. Harmonics have a natural and not tempered pitch and create an impalpable sound like light substance.
The first page of the work:
At the beginning of the score there are the first harmonic glissandos combined with artificial harmonics:
All the strings, in glissandos, play natural harmonics simply moving a finger on a string.
In the next example, you can watch irregular tuplets of 17 notes that help the players to go together rhythmically. The normal line of glissando, in such a complex score, does not allow good synchronization.
There are even pizzicato harmonics:
Pizzicato harmonics will conduce the work to another section called “misterioso” in which there are tuplets with the omission of one note:
Another page with the strong (cattivo, ugly) entry of the basses in another rhythm:
A part of the conclusion with tremolos on harmonics:
Another section of the conclusion with pizzicatos with the left hand:
The final chord representing the light of the birth of the day: