California EAR Unit / Morton Feldman

Morton Feldman: Crippled Symmetry

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Feldman's Crippled Symmetry is one of his more overtly beautiful pieces and a fine introduction for the hesitant listener. Scored for a trio of flute/bass flute, vibraphone/glockenspiel, and piano/celeste, the instrumental colors are immediately attractive, as are the short melodic figures that are performed. Beneath the surface attractiveness, however, lies a wealth of ideas about sound, patterns, and relationships between notes that repay intense study. Feldman's ability to overlay asymmetric patterns resulting in surprising (but always perfect) juxtapositions of tones and rhythms is astonishing and unique. He famously drew inspiration from Turkish carpets and one can easily analogize a close perusal of those weavings to music such as this. The members of the California EAR Unit do a fine job in this performance, though it arguably lacks the utter power and conviction of the earlier recording on Hat Art with Eberhard Blum, which, however, may be more difficult to come by. Listeners waiting to dip their toes into Feldman's sometimes daunting music could do worse than to start with this two-disc set.

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