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Linea (author's note)

Linea
for two pianos, vibraphone and marimba (1973)

The subject matter or theme of Linea is the constant transformation of a very simple melody into more complex, differentiated and independent articulations. It is rather difficult to define a melody, since this term always implies other functions; a melody by J. S. Bach - a monody, a simple line - implies not only a phrase structure and a rhythmic one, but also a harmonic structure. In a solo violin Sonata, polyphony is implied (and heard as such) even when the violinist is playing a single line... If I decide to use a melody, I must put all the implied elements into it: these elements are not taken for granted or given by history, but have to be invented anew.
Linea is exactly this - an exposition of the elements implied in a melody which is only apparently simple, and is destroyed by its own implications. At times, however, the melody reappears in recognizable form, like an object found again after an absence, and seen with different and maybe more penetrating eyes. Sometimes the four players (two pianists and two percussionists) meet on the same line, playing the same melody; sometimes they diverge and play different music, generated, however, by that ever-present melody.
I composed Linea in 1973 for Felix Blaska and his dance company.

Luciano Berio