The first interest of the composer was, from the beginning, a 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 thousend of pitches;
– the use of alternative playing of the instruments, effects, multiphonics, harmonics, percussive sounds in
– according 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, basis of our physical world. I imagined some kind of a soundtrack, sounds intrinsic to the matter, which has laws different from the real world. In it’s first part there is a rarefaction of time, this is an introduction where you can not 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 belowe you can watch the rarefacted 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 a 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 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 bird cage gone wild which give 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 aestetichs is “Rarefazioni di Luce” (Rarefaction of lights) for string orchestra.
In this score, the composer, tried to give a dramatic exspression 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 irregilar tuplets of 17 notes that help the players to go togheter rithmically. The normal line of glissando, in such complex score, does not allow a good synchronization.
There are even pizzicato harmonics:
Pizzicato harmonics will conduce the work to another section called “misterioso” in wich there are tuplets with the omission of one note:
Another page with the strong (cattivo, ugly) entry of the basses in another rythm:
A part of the conclusion with tremolos on harmonics:
Another section of the conclusion with pizzicatos with the left hand:
The final chord rapresenting the light of the birth of the day:
In this score there are also other kind of techniques as slap on bass, col legno, sound on bridge and many articulations.
A score that can rapresent well Valentini’s work is “Blu Cobalto” for solo flute.
The whole piece, performed in the video by the great flutist Roberto Fabbriciani, is based on a multiphonic, a chord created with an instrument that normally is monophonic. It is possible with new techniques and positions.
The lower note is the note of the position and the other notes are harmonics created by the special techniques. All the other notes are not tempered and the lower is a quarter tone more then an F. So, the sound of the piece is not in a tempered scale.
This is the chord used in the score:
In the legenda is clearly explained that the flutist must play only this chord in the whole piece but in the score are written only the partial that he have to make mostly hear with a lip pressure.
The beginning of the score:
Using this technique, the flutist can go up and down playing the same notes with different rythms:
There is a section, called “con sentimento” in wich the flute plays a melody in the style of italian opera, like a Puccini’s soprano aria. All the notes, are, anyway, harmonics, so this simply passage is like a dreaming remember of italian tradition that is so present in Valentini’s work
There are even glissandos and slap notes:
There are other modern techniques like a motor effect:
At the end of the score come again the aria with accompaniment:
And at the last bars the whole chord that is the only matter of the score: