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La grande vall​é​e / 1995 ~ composition de musique concr​è​te

by Lionel Marchetti

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--- 1995 ---

« Maître, où allez-vous ? Demanda Bourrasque.
À la Grande Vallée, dit Épaisseur Obscure.
Pourquoi ?
La Grande Vallée est le lieu où l'on verse sans jamais remplir
et où l'on puise sans jamais épuiser. »


La grande vallée

Musique concrète de Lionel Marchetti
pour une écoute acousmatique d'une durée de 20'41''

Composition musicale, conception et réalisation sonore, tournages sonores dans les studios du Groupe de Recherches Musicales de l’INA (Paris) en 1993/1995 : Lionel Marchetti

Tournages sonores originaux dans la Drôme et sur le Mont Ventoux : Lionel Marchetti

Voix : Hélène Bettencourt

Présences vocales : Frédéric Malenfer, Bruno Roche, Lionel Marchetti

Clarinette basse (pour traitements) : Jean Andréo

Commande de L'INA-GRM de Paris
(Groupe de Recherches Musicales de l'INA) réalisée dans ses studios

Création publique lors du Cycle Acousmatique / Maison de Radio France, INA-GRM (Paris) – 1996

Création radiophonique sur France Musiques en 1997

Merci à François Donato, Jérôme Nœtinger, William Pellier, Bruno Roche, Daniel Teruggi et Christian Zanési

Une première édition CD de La grande vallée à été réalisée en 1997 dans la Collection Cinéma pour l'oreille dirigée par Jérôme Noetinger - Metamkine MKCD025


Une seconde édition CD à été réalisée en 2010, dans le double album
intitulé Une saison chez MonotypeRec. (collection dirigée par Jakub Mikolajczyk, en Pologne) - mono 036

ORIGINAL MASTER (stéréo) 2020 à l' INA GRM, par Jules Négrier - 44khz/16bits

Copyright : Lionel Marchetti / SACEM

Illustration d'après une peinture (détail) du moine-peintre Shitao (1642-1707) : Randonnée dans les parages du temple du Dragon / Pékin, musée du Palais


"Lionel Marchetti is a major figure of the “third generation” of concrète musicians, a term he values. Listening to these works, imbued with poetry and traversed by micro-narratives, one can indeed retrieve the original concrète spirit, the one that draws from the sonic world, with ears wide open, so as to extract a fertile, rich and multiple substance then shaped and conveyed towards a formal and musical abstraction. Lionel Marchetti has mastered this process, but his real distinctive feature is a truly unique talent for setting climates (as one sets traps) and keeping us on constant alert. The two pieces in this record perfectly illustrate the entrancing dimension of Lionel Marchetti's music, whose charm leads us, through each successive listening, to become voluntary captives so as to better liberate ourselves."
François Bonnet, Paris, 2020



À propos de La grande vallée, par Denis Boyer :

« La grande valléé, réalisée entre 1993 et 1996, a été publiée en France par Metamkine dans la collection Cinéma pour l’oreille en 1998. On la présente comme le cheminement d’un homme naturel idéal, paradoxe vivant échappant à sa condition dans la traversée d’une vallée après l’orage. L’eau a nettoyé les alentours tout comme elle est censée avoir lavé le promeneur qui reçoit, l’auditeur qui reçoit, la pleine expression sonore des éléments qu’il croise.

Cette nature et les quelques éléments humains qui la jalonnent sont exprimés dans un poème musical d’une vingtaine de minutes.

Épigraphe : « La grande vallée est le lieu où l’on verse sans jamais remplir et où l’on puise sans jamais épuiser. »

Une énigme et sa propre résolution, qui laissent pourtant le goût du mystère, de la puissante métaphore qu’elle invite à pratiquer.

La vie, le monde, ne sont ni plus insondables ni moins inépuisables.

Cette vallée est-elle un chemin de vie, une initiation, où l’homme croise la femme dans un cri, d’autres hommes et leur étouffement, pour finalement les quitter, et s’élever.

Le promeneur idéal, écoutant, se charge d’abord et surtout des sons qui l’environnent, le caparaçonnent. Ce sont des vibrations de toutes natures et de toutes densités, qu’il lui faut apprendre à reconnaître et à domestiquer dans sa représentation de la grande vallée.

Les frottements secs ou stridulants, mille bruits d’insectes, les claquements qui déjà anticipent les ascensions et leurs rudesses, et déjà ouvrent à une accalmie après la tension emmagasinée, une descente mélancolique, la mince vapeur qui se re-concentre en brume bourdonnante, nappant la quasi-totalité du disque, un drone bienveillant à la double action : liaison des sons, essor de l’émotion… »
Denis Boyer / Fear Drops in La Revue des Ressources



PRESS by Ed Pinsent, www.thesoundprojector.com

"Another item overlooked for a shade too long is this double CD compilation of work by the excellent Lionel Marchetti. I can’t think of a single release where he’s let us down or ever short-changed the listener. All of his electro-acoustic compositions are significant updates on the musique concrète model, and he always displays strong imagination in his semi-narrative suites, while paying close attention to the tiniest of details. Even if his work sometimes borders on the mystical, and risks alienating the audience through its pretensions, Marchetti always continues with bold footsteps into virtual worlds rarely traced by others. On Un Saison (MONOTYPE RECORDS MONO036) we hear four pieces, all of which have been previously released elsewhere, but compiled together here with suitable alpine imagery on the cover photos, as there seems to be a conceptual unity among the titles if not the actual underlying themes of the compositions. For futher elucidation, I refer you to the sleeve note in the booklet by Michal Chion; he warns us not to think of them as “sonic landscapes”, but does admit that the “similarity of the titles…might intimate a certain landscape quality”.

On CD 1, ‘La Grande Vallée’ is a vivid assemblage of field recordings from the wilder side of nature, including howling wolves and other animal cries; the treated sounds are mingled with the voice of Hélène Bettencourt, and pre-composed clarinet music. Bettencourt may not say much, but when she does you could use her voice as an ice pick or piton. More than most who work in the phonographic area, Marchetti edits and assembles his field recordings in exciting fashion, to create a sort of “magical realist” portrait of nature, and to tell half-glimpsed stories. No wonder this was originally issued in the Cinéma Pour L’Oreille series; Marchetti would have made a great sound recordist for avant-garde cinema.

‘Portrait D’Un Glacier’ contains some field recordings captured at Mont Blanc with the help of Bruno Roche; this alpine work also uses plenty of electronic music and analogue synthesisers in the composition, and the final work achieves a seamless blend of all the materials. Highly ambient and mysterious (Brian Eno meets Messiaen), full of the baffling near-silences which Marchetti delights in, with punctuation provided by water splashes, shouts of men in the mountains, and a general sense that somehow the sweeping scale of mountain ranges has been successfully rendered in small and intimate sounds. Subtle, understated; yet compelling listening, and importantly it’s a zone still populated by human beings. One need only think of how F. López tends to approach the same subject matter; his soundscapes are generally unblemished by any sort of human presence, preferring the emptied-out beauty of nature’s sound by itself. This 1998-2000 composition originally appeared on Ground Fault Recordings.

On CD 2, ‘Dans La Montagne (Ki Ken Taï)’ has already been heard and reviewed by us in its reissue from Chloe Recordings in 2003, although it was composed in 1995-96 and first appeared on La Muse En Circuit. Again, it’s a rich mix of field recordings with electronic music, supplemented by performing voices and the voices of the Kendo teams whooping and shrieking and clacking weapons together as they enact their martial sport. The “mountain” theme here in the title always leads me to believe we’re hearing climbers swinging on ropes and coming to a terrible end, but it’s nothing of the sort. Leaping out vividly from the synthesised gloom and deep sombre tones, these uncanny yelps make this one of the most memorable and striking pieces on the set.

‘L’Oeil retourné’ has also been heard and reviewed by us when released on Selektion in 1999. It also involves some mountainside walking with Bruno Roche, and contains quotations from other records in amongst the gently fizzing and gliding electronic sounds – including Ralf Wehowsky (who was originally on the split CD), This Heat, Jospehine Leask, and others. Random radio station noise plays a part in this brittle and minimal music, as does the crisp voice of Hélène Bettencourt. It exhibits the “quiet and inscrutable” side of Marchetti; the listener has to play close attention to catch every nuanced detail of sound, as some of these events are so fleeting and near-imperceptible.

In all of this music, Marchetti presents a portrait of nature as something somewhat dangerous and frightening; it has a scale that defeats us; it seems to embody forces that cannot be fully known or understood. Through his intensive phonographic studies and compositional reworkings, Marchetti does not propose to diminish any of that power, but rather foreground it and heighten it with his subtle and ingenious art. In so doing, he manages to stir primal forces in the listener."
Ed Pinsent


Lionel Marchetti is a French composer of concrete music
an improviser (electronics, various analogic systems with modified speakers, REVOX reel-to-reel recorder…)
as well as a visual-sound artist, a writer and a poet

Whether his music is composed or improvised
the body has an important role (Lionel Marchetti danced with the university company Relyanse between 1986 and 1991)

To define his music, one can borrow Kenneth White’s saying :

« Concrete or abstract ?
I like abstraction where a memory of substance remains, concrete refined on the frontiers of emptiness. »
[free translation]


NB : for a complete bio & diverses web links
have a look here : Archives radiophoniques…
(below, in my bandcamp discography)


released December 29, 1995


all rights reserved



Lionel Marchetti France

Lionel Marchetti (1967) : compositeur français de musique concrète, acousmatique & improvisateur avec instruments électroniques divers

...ses compositions musicales sont considérées comme
un véritable cinéma pour l'oreille…

"Concret ou abstrait ? J'aime l'abstrait où subsiste un souvenir de substance, le concret qui s'affine aux frontières du vide." (K.White)
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