Linea is the first work Berio composed expressly for dance – Felix Blaska was the choreographer for the first performance – but it certainly can be programmed as a purely musical piece. For long stretches, each of the two pianists plays one-handed, frequently unisono with the percussion instruments. But even when the pianists play four-hands and Berio uses chords, the music retains its delicacy, thanks to the composer’s preference for the high register. This is crystalline music – or music like icicles.
Translation © 2012 by Grant Chorley